The branched stems and the narrow, oblong leaves of gaillardia pulchella
are generally less hairy (the hairs are very short) than the similar gaillardia aristata
, which has noticeably longer hairs. Leaves are found mostly around the base of the stem.
Flowerheads grow singly or in leafy clusters; they have eight to 14 ray florets, quite deeply divided into three lobes at the tip, and may be all red, all yellow, or banded (most common; red at the base), and surround a center of 40 to 100 reddish-purple disc florets. Flowerheads are large, up to 3 inches in diameter, subtended by between 18 and 28 phyllaries, narrowly triangular in shape. Flowers can bloom all year, but May to August is the usual period.