Photos by Allison De Jong.

What is it about showy yellow flowers? Is it their brightness? Their cheer? The fact that they look like golden bits of sunshine dropped in a meadow or on a hillside?

This #WildflowerWednesday we are loving on blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), another stunner in the Asteraceae (sunflower) family. That means that those “petals” you see are actually individual flowers – yellow ray flowers that tinge towards orange or red or purple at the base – with brownish-red disk flowers in the center. Blanketflower is common in western Montana (as well as throughout the state and beyond), and you’ll find it blooming in dry grasslands and open forests throughout the summer. Want to enjoy it in your yard? Blanketflower is easy to grow from seed, will reseed itself, AND it’s deer resistant.

More fun facts: American Indians used blanketflower to treat various ailments. The Okanagan made it into poultices to ease backache, and drank a blanketflower solution to relieve kidney problems. The Blackfoot treated gastrointestinal problems with a tea made from its roots. They also used an infusion to treat sore eyes as well as saddle sores on horses. The flowerheads were also dropped into soups to absorb the liquid.

Where have you been seeing blanketflower this summer? Share your photos with us on Facebook and Instagram!