This lovely plant actually has two types of flowers. The outer ring of yellow flowers are called ray flowers and the inner circle of tiny flowers are called disk flowers. This plant has a “flowering head,” not a flower. In other words, it has many flowers.
Gaillardia aristata is sometimes called Great Blanketflower, no doubt after the colourful blankets of the American southwest. The colours are incredibly vibrant as I hope can be seen from my photos. The flowers have sometimes been boiled to make medicinal teas for problems ranging from headaches to tuberculosis and cancer, but I have never tried to drink such tea. Why not? Sometimes the flowers have been used to forecast the future of patients. If the flower is boiled for a long time and the water stayed clear it was believed that patient would die. On the other hand, a reddish or well-coloured liquid was a strong suggestion that the patient would likely recover.
As I have said before I don’t like perfection. Maybe it’s because I am jealous of it. I prefer flaws. How often in life is nature perfect? About as often as I am perfect. I am much more comfortable with imperfection. I find Gaillardia one of the most beautiful flowers of summer on the prairies.