Indian blanket/blanketflowers, which are in the fabulous Aster family, are wonderful perennial pollinator plants that are native to most of the lower U.S., Hawaii and Canada. There are several species of this plant and the one that is native in most Western states and in Canada, Gaillardia aristata, is shown in the top photo. They are variously colored with red, yellow, The species found in more Eastern and Southeastern states is Galliardia pulchella and Jill wrote an article that focused on this species here last year. As shown in the photo below, it can be purple but it can also red and yellow. You can see the other Gaillardia species and just where each species is native in this USDA Plant Profile webpage.
All of the species of this plant provide the wide landing platforms in their center ‘bulls-eyes’ that are needed by butterflies so they can land to obtain the pollen. They are very attractive to bees and even to hummingbirds. Pollinators are very important as so many of not only our flowers but our vegetables require pollination. Here is an interesting publication called ‘Attracting Pollinators’ and it shows a blanketflower with a Green Sweat Bee on it.
These two photos of blanketflowers show bumblebees pollinating them. Since the imported honeybees are dying off, native bees are even more important. This National Wildlife Federation webpage tells about a number of ways we can help the pollinators.
I am a big fan of bees because they did such a good job of pollinating my tomato plant last year almost every blossom went on to produce a tomato.
When planting native wildflowers it is a good idea to get them from a seed company that guarantees they are native to your area. One good source for Gaillardia pulchella is Native American Seed. And here is a native plant seed company that offers Gaillardia aristata for those of us who live in the west and north.
Do you have a pollinator garden?