Large, bright yellow flowers, surrounding a central disk of crimson, are showy at the ends of 20–60 cm stems. What appear to be petals are actually individual flowers called ray florets. This member of the daisy family blooms from June to August across the prairies on dry hillsides and in open areas.
First Nations people across western Canada used this plant. As reported by Wilkinson, “The Alberta Stoney people drank a tea of gaillardia to relieve menstrual problems, and the Blackfoot used the root to treat human gastroenteritis and saddle sores in horses. The Okanagan steeped the whole plant in water to treat venereal diseases.” (261)
Growth habit and range: This plant is an erect, herbaceous perennial which is commonly found on dry, open sites throughout the southern portion of the province. Gaillardia grows to a height of 20–60 cm.
Description: This plant exhibits coarsely hairy stems and leaves. The basal leaves are stalked, oblong to spatulate in shape, 5–12 cm in length, and occasionally are shallowly and incompletely divided into lobes. The stem leaves lack stalks and are smaller in size. The flowers are borne singly at the stem tips, and are 3–7 cm in diameter, daisy-like blooms. Each flower is comprised of 10–18, wedge shaped yellow ray florets measuring 1–3 cm in length, which display 3 apical lobes and a reddish or purplish base, and a central, rounded cluster of red to purple disk florets. The fruit is a three-sided achene covered by papery scales.
Wilkinson, Kathleen. 1999. Wildflowers of Alberta: A Guide to Common Wildflowers and Other Herbaceous Plants. University of Alberta Press and Lone Pine Publishing, AB.