This showy wildflower has yellow ray flowers with red bases and a dark red-brown globe of disk flowers (in the center). Leaves and stems are covered in hairs. Leaves are about 6 in long, lance-shaped, and alternate along the stem. Disk flowers produce brown seeds called achenes that have two long awns. Plant can be up to 12 in tall and is found in dry grasslands, woods and rocky, open areas.
The genus name Gaillardia is after an 18th century patron of botany, Gaillard de Marentonneau. The species name, aristata, comes from the latin word "arist" which means bristle. Blanketflower is often used in restoration projects because it does well in disturbed areas and is a valuable pollen and food source. Many butterflies, moths, and insects use blanketflower, including the Edwards fritillary and Dakota skipper. Grouse also like this plant for the seeds and the many insects found on the seed heads.