Throughout the early- and mid-summer in every meadow in K-Country, you can’t miss the bright cheery flowers of Gallardia aristata. You may know it better by one of its many common names: Brown-Eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Common Gallardia or Wild Gallardia. We think of it as a ray of ground sunshine.
The flower is a bit deceptive. If you look carefully at the top photo, you’ll notice that each flower petal ends in 3 lobes. This makes it look like it has more petals than it really does. This is an easy way to distinguish it from the less common, but similar (and related) Rudbekia hirta, commonly known as the Black-Eyed Susan. Rudbekia petals do not end in lobes.
This is a very widespread flower. It’s found through most of North America as far south as Arizona and as far north as the Yukon. It can even be found in Europe, Austrailia and South America.
It likes drier, grassy meadows and roadsides, but can handle moister conditions. Gallardia also like openings in coniferous forests. It grows tall, up to 50 cm. You can buy various cultivars from growing at home, and it does well in gardens.
This plant saw many, many uses by Indigenous people. Dry the flowers and make a “snuff” and you can clear congested noses. Make a tea from the plant, and it can be used to treat hair loss, digestive and stomach problems, sore eyes and other maladies.
See more of the pretty flowers of K-Country here!