I was very pleased earlier this week to discover a field of one of my very favorite native Texas wildflowers growing less than a mile from my house! Once the weather and wind cooperated I was able to get out today and shoot some of theseWonderful flowers. They go by several names, the most popular of which are Firewheels, Indian Blankets, and Sundance flower. the scientific name is Gaillardia pulchella . The genus name is in honor of a French legislator who was a patron of 17th centrury botanical research, Gaillard de Charentonneu.
The name Indan Blanket cones from a Native American legend that a weaver wanted to honor the Great Spirit by weaving a blanket that had all the colors of the sunset. Upon his death, he asked to be buried in his masterpeice so that he could present it to the Great Spirit in the Afterlife. As recogition of the gift, the Great Spirit covered the plains in this flower.
This flower was significant to the Aztecs as well, but for a vastly different reason. Their story of the creation of this flower was that it was originally pure yellow. However, once the Conquistator Cortes spilled the blood of the Aztec people, the center of these flowers became stained red.
This widely distributed flower is found as a spring bloom in much of the south & southwest and a fall bloom farther north. It prefers full sun and dry soils. Gardeners compalin that if you water it "enough" it does very poorly. As such it's a great choice for a garden trying to conserve water!