Gaillardia pulchella Foug.
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Blanket Flower is also known as Indian Blanket and Fire Wheels.
Plant is an upright, hairy annual or short-lived perennial with ribbed stems. Its preferred habitat is sandy roadsides, fields, dunes and prairies. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are alternate; stalked; lance shaped to oblong, tapering to the tip with sides less than equal. Leaf margins are toothed or slightly lobed and the leaf base graduates to a narrow point.
The flowers are at the end of long stems; solitary heads on stalks; symmetrical in form and the disc flowers are bisexual in nature; dark brown to deep red; ray flowers are sterile; numerous and red, yellow or lavender tipped with various degrees of color. Flowers occur in the spring and summer.
Fruit is achene (a seed which outer layer is fused to it).
This plant is widely used by the D.O.T. of both Florida and Alabama as a relief bloomer in wildflower plots along I-65 and I-10. It is beginning to escape to the surrounding wooded areas. In the more sandy areas of Escambia and Santa Rosa the plant is seeded naturally.