This is a perennial
herb. Erect, simple or widely
branching stems 4 to 24 inches tall. The flowering heads are
from 1 to 3 inches across. Flower have 10 to 20 ray florets
that are red or purplish at the base and yellow toward the
3-lobed tip, or rarely entirely yellow. The disk florets are
reddish-purple. After flowering, there are firm bristles on
the round receptacle.
Found in waste ground, disturbed
sites, fields and roadsides. Prefers dry, open, sandy soils.
State wildflower of Oklahoma.
The Kiowa believed the flowers
brought good luck. Some Plateau Indian tribes used this
flower to treat wounds and settle fevers. Blackfoot Nation
used an infusion of the plant rubbed on nursing mother's
sore nipples; a poultice of chewed, powdered roots were
applied to skin disorders; an infusion was used as an
eyewash; an infusion of roots was taken for gastroenteritis;
an infusion was also used as nosedrops. A well used native
From the Robert W.
Named after M.
Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th century French
magistrate and patron of botany. The word, aristrata,
means bearded, furnished with awns, or bristly.
This plant was introduced to the
U.S. and escaped to scatter all over the continent.
However, the USDA
PLANTS database makes no mention of this origin. But the
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture has the origin
as "Native? Native in OR and parts of BC, introduced in SW
BC (lower Fraser River)." And the Lady Bird Johnson
Wildflower Center Native Plant Database states "Native to
U.S.," and "Native Distribution: B.C. to Sask., s. to n. OR
(mostly e. of the Cascades), n. UT, CO & KS; also reported