Plant of the Month: Common Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)

June Plant of the Month: Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)!

Gaillardia aristata, commonly known as blanket flower or common Gaillardia, is a herbaceous perennial wildflower in the daisy family native to Alberta and the rest of Western North America. The genus name ‘Gaillardia’ was named in honour of Gaillard de Marentonneau, a patron of botany in the 18th century. The species name ‘aristata’ is derived from the latin word ‘arist’ meaning bristle; which refers to the hairy stems and leaves the plant possesses. Blanket flowers have an extended blooming period from June through September. You will find blanket flowers in open prairies, meadows, and on hillsides with full fun and dry soil, ranging from the Northwest Territories all the way down to Arizona.

Indigenous peoples across western North America traditionally use this plant for medicinal properties: the Stoney Peoples steep and drink tea made of the flowers to relieve menstrual problems, and the Blackfoot use the root to help relieve stomach pain and discomfort. Recently, the seeds of the plant have been used in wildflower sod for native plant rehabilitation and restoration of natural areas.

The blanket flowers produce a lot of nectar, which attracts many pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and beetles, that use it as a steady food source through summer. Its importance as a food source is not limited to insects, as birds enjoy eating the seed heads of the flowers.

Blanket flowers range from 6 - 24 inches tall, normally with a singular flower on the top of each stem. The proportion of red and yellow pigmentation on the petals varies within the species; this means that a flower can range from mostly red or mostly yellow. The flower petals normally have a red/purple to yellow gradient from the central disc to the petal tips. The petals are actually individual florets that have 3 lobes at the tips. There are 10-18 wedge shaped petals per flower, and they are 1-3 cm in length. The base leaves are stalked and are long lance shaped with irregular edges. The stem leaves are small and lack stalks. Both the leaves and stem appear hairy.

Gaillardia are personally one of my favourite native wildflowers to see in the summer time! What are your favourite wildflowers?

flower with yellow petals and a red-orange centre

הועלה ב-יוני 11, 2023 05:05 אחה"צ על ידי jdo77 jdo77

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My favourite wildflowers are Western Wood Lily and Tall Bluebells !

פורסם על-ידי mathiasfenton לפני 12 חודשים

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