Perennials (sometimes flowering first year, sometimes rhizomatous), (5-)15-35+ cm. Leaves basal and cauline, mostly re-stricted to proximal 1/3-1/2; petiolar bases 0-5+ cm; blades mostly oblanceolate to spatulate, 3-6(-12) cm × 3-18(-30) mm, margins mostly pinnatifid, distal sometimes toothed or entire (rarely all linear, entire), faces closely strigillose to shaggily villous. Peduncles (4-)8-25+ cm. Phyllaries 20-30, ovate- to lanceolate-attenuate, 7-12+ mm, hispidulous to villous (hairs often jointed). Receptacular setae usually 1-3 mm, rarely wanting. Ray florets 0 or 5-14; corollas usually uniformly yellow, sometimes proximally and/or abaxially reddish, 10-25+ mm. Disc florets (30-)60-100+; corollas usually proximally ochroleucous or yellow and distally purplish, rarely wholly yellow, tubes 0.8-1 mm, throats campanulate to plumply urceolate, 3-4.5 mm, lobes broadly deltate to deltate-ovate, 0.5-1 mm, jointed hairs 0.3+ mm. Cypselae obpyramidal, 1-3 mm, hairs 1-2 mm, inserted at bases and on angles and faces; pappi of 8-11 lanceolate, aristate scales 3-7 mm (scarious bases 1.5-4 × 0.5-1.5 mm). 2n = 34.
Flowering Mar-Oct, mostly May-Jul. Clays or sandy soils, often disturbed places, in grasslands, desert scrub-lands, or pinyon woodlands; 900-2000 m; Ariz., Colo., Nev., N.Mex., Okla., Tex., Utah; Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Sonora).
Some plants, especially from Arizona, included here in Gaillardiapinnatifida, have mostly narrow, undivided leaf blades (mostly 3-8+ mm wide, villous to sparsely strigillose; var. linearis) and intergrade with similar plants called G. multiceps, which have sparsely and minutely hispidulous or glabrate leaf blades.
Plants from Utah with yellow disc corollas and densely gland-dotted leaves, included here in Gaillardia pinnatifida, have been recognized as G. flava.
FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Perennial herbs to 35 cm tall, growing in dense tufts from a woody caudex, and sometimes from rhizomes; stems much-branched, leafy toward the base; herbage strigose-canescent to villous. Leaves: Alternate, clustered near base of plant; blades oblanceolate to spatulate, the lower leaves toothed or pinnately lobed and upper leaves entire and narrower; surfaces strigose-canescent to villous. Flowers: Flower heads showy, radiate, solitary on slender peduncles to 25 cm long; involucre (ring of bracts wrapped around flower head) hemispheric, 1-2 cm diameter, the bracts (phyllaries) 20-30 in 2-3 series, lanceolate-attenuate and villous with long white heairs; ray florets 0 or 5-14, the laminae (ray petals) yellow, often streaked with purple, deeply 3-lobed, 1-3 cm long; disc florets 60-100, the corollas yellowish with purple tips, densely glandular-hirsute, 0.5 cm high. Fruits: Achenes cone-shaped,to 3 mm long, densely silky hirsute, topped with a pappus of 5-10 dry, membranaceous paleae, these tipped with slender awns. Ecology: Often found on limestone soils on mesas, plains, and in open pine forest, from 3,500-7,000 ft (1067-2134 m); flowers April-October. Distribution: CO and UT to TX, NM and AZ; south to MEX. Notes: A distinctive, showy perennial herb with a large, roundish head of showy red-orange disc flowers surrounded by yellow rays, each with three lobes; the simple to pinnately lobed, gray-green leaves are mostly restricted to the lower portion of the plant and the seeds have a pappus of awn-tipped scales (palea). Ethnobotany: The plant was rubbed on mothers- breasts to wean infants; an infusion of the plant was used as a diuretic, to treat heartburn and nausea, and ceremonially; a poultice of the leaves was applied to treat gout, and the seeds were eaten as food. Etymology: Gaillardia is named for Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th century French patron of botany; pinnatifida means pinnately cut. Synonyms: Gaillardia flava Editor: LCrumbacher 2011, FSCoburn 2014, AHazelton 2016