Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Lanceleaf Blanket-flower - Gaillardia aestivalis   (Walter) H. Rock
Members of Gaillardia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
Author(Walter) H. Rock
DistributionSandhills only.

Coastal Plain, NC to central FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceRare to uncommon; locally fairly common, but easily overlooked owing to a lack of ray florets and a scarcity of stem leaves. This is a State Endangered species.
HabitatDry to mesic (loamy sand) Longleaf Pine-oak-Wiregrass uplands, including flat areas; roadsides through these habitats, clearings. Most sandy sites in the region are too dry for it to occur.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October. It is an annual or short-lived perennial.
IdentificationThe species is easily identified by the dark red-purple disks about an inch across and which lack ray florets. The plant grows 1-2 feet tall, with basal leaves oblanceolate (lance shape but widest towards the tip), and stem leaves rapidly reduced in size and lacking stalks. Note that in states to our south, the species typically does have yellow rays, variously long or quite short. Do not be misled by photos of the species, expecting to search for a "sneezeweed" type of composite! When actually seen in the state, you will wonder if the species is actually in bloom or not -- as you are staring at a dark rosy-purple, marble-sized "ball" on top of a rather naked stem.
Taxonomic CommentsThe taxon found in NC is the nominate var. aestivalis.

Other Common Name(s)Sandhills Gaillardia, Sandhills Blanket-flower
State RankS2
Global RankG5
State Status[E]
US Status
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