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I'm a Science Teacher, Nature Photographer, Husband, Father, and Grandfather who loves to explore the natural world by traveling, photographing and thinking. 

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beautiful Indian Blankets

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!

35 comments:

Craig Elliott said...

Beautiful images and interesting comments

Mom of M&Ms said...

Awesome... We have some near our house too.. I jsut discovered.. thanks for the information.. And that last shot is my favorite!

Metro Coyote said...

Padre, these flowers are absolutely gorgeous -- you are an amazing artist!

Al said...

Wonderful photos, especially the last one. I've never seen these flowers before, I wonder if they could grow in my dry but cold climate?

ester said...

Fabulous shots!

My entry.

SquirrelQueen said...

Gaillardia is one of my favorite summer flowers. I have a different variety in one of my gardens and it blooms all summer into late fall. It does seem to do better with little water. Also as your photo shows the honey bees love it.

Carletta said...

I only became familiar with this flower a couple of years ago. I'm envious that it grows wild there.
Lovely capture and as I have Native American in my geneology I love the story!
Amazing capture of the pollen covered bee!!!!

Carletta's Captures

Luna Miranda said...

it's a gorgeous wildflower. the colors are beautiful...the field must be a dream!

Live in the Moment

hobosfromubobo said...

Thank you for these gorgeous photos and their accompanying stories...very interesting. I've only ever seen them as a garden flower in Australia. I'm a school teacher too and during our long years of drought, we grew them in our school gardens because they were so drought hardy ...and they didn't let us down!

kanak7 said...

Loved reading the story behind the gorgeous bloom. To see it grow wild would be such an unforgettable sight! Your photos are beautiful...the last shot...amazing!

Stratoz said...

I have these in my gardens. Thanks for telling me a bit more about them.

Julie G. said...

Wonderful post chock full of outstanding photographs and interesting information. Fantastic!

Gary said...

Beautiful flower and great shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Wonderful series.

There are a lot of horticultural varieties of this flower available now. I haven't figured out how to get them through the winter here. I have a feeling it has to do with drainage. We plant them as annuals.

Barbara said...

Beautiful bold colors. That bee has been a busy one. Great series of captures.

Jim Coda said...

Nice Indian Blanket photos John.

Ladynred said...

I love the color and that bee is just beautiful! What a perfect match!
http://agring.blogspot.com/2011/05/hyacinths.html

Míriam Luiza said...

Lindas fotografias! A abelha na flor é muito real.

awarewriter said...

Great series of macros. A beauty of a flower complete with a pollen covered bee.

Linda Makiej said...

Really beautiful!!
Have a great week!
Glad to be following you...

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

amazing shot of the little pollenator at work, love it

KT said...

Don't you wish that color were around all year round!

amatterofhowyouseeit.com said...

The colors, details, and bokeh are fantastic in these photos!

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

The lighting in these photos are true perfection! Well done. That last photo is tops tho!!

Here's an open invitation to view my 'legendary' MERMAID'S PURSE...a sea 'oddity'. If you have time...come on over for a visit!!

Have a super Monday.

GrandmaK said...

Absolutely breathtaking! I'm speechless! Have a wonderful week! Cathy

Elijah Goodwin said...

Great images John!

Karen said...

What a beautiful flower and a terrific series of photos! That's one pollen covered bee!

dAwN said...

Beautiful photos..Love the last one with the pollen laden bee! :)

Luiz Santilli Jr said...

Hi John Wonderful flowers!
Thanks for sharing.
I would like you to become a Guest Friend in TODAYS FLOWERS.
If you agree send me pictures so I tell your Guest Friend date.

Thanks

Luiz

Bella Skye said...

Beautiful shots! The last one is truly amazing!

SandyCarlson said...

That's a great story that goes with this post. Thank you.

birdy said...

Interesting information and gorgeous captures. 2nd one is my favorite.

Chesney said...

A burst of sunshine! So bright and cheery! Beautiful!

wordconnections said...

I'm glad that you included the scientific name and an explanation of who Gaillard was. I'd encourage you to include the scientific name for all plants that are native to your area.

Steve Schwartzman
http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

Lee Ann L. said...

Wow. I'm loving the last picture. The detail is awesome. He's covered with pollen. But then, I've always been a fan of bees. So, I'm drawn to them. LOL.
:-)