Life Among the Daisies

Nadya Johnson

Joined January 2009

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Featured in CROPS & HARVESTS


Common Daisy
(Bellis Perennis)


Also known as the English Daisy, European Daisy or the Lawn Daisy these flowers belong to the Compositae family. Historically, they are also called bruisewort and woundwort.

Bellis is Latin for “pretty” and perennis is Latin for “everlasting”. The term “daisy” is considered a corruption of “day’s eye”, because the whole head closes at night and opens in the morning. Chaucer called it “eye of the day”. In Medieval times, Bellis perennis or the English Daisy was commonly called “Mary’s Rose”. It was considered a flower of children and symbolic with innocence.

Daisies come in a variety of colors. shapes and sizes both in the wild and in gardens where the larger types are popular as ornamentals. The larger, most common species such as oxe-eyes and shastas, are closely related to chrysanthemums. Many diasies have multiple scientific names and there are some called daisies such as wild milk-wort, which are not true daisies, at all.


Tiny bellis daisies such as pictured here, have flower-heads about half an inch across; and because they take root readily in lawns are considered by many to be “weeds.” Once established, they can form massive colonies difficult if not impossible to eradicate from grass.


All Bellis daisies originate from Europe but are now long naturalized in many parts of Asia and New Zealand and the Americas. They thrive in open meadowlands as well as sun-splashed areas of forests. They prefer rich, moist soil so are seldom seen in hot, dry areas but thrive in the Heartland of America, often growing up and down the backroads and the highways in the countryside if undisturbed. They bloom in spring through early summer, sometimes into autumn, forming tapestries of white which, in addition to their beauty attract insects, honeybees and butterflies.


Far from being noxious “weeds,” the flowers have other uses, too. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads. The buds and petals can be eaten in sandwiches and soups. The flowers can be also used as tea and as vitamin supplements.


Older flowers have astringent properties and are used in herbal medicine. In ancient Rome, the surgeons who accompanied Roman legions into battle would order their slaves to pick them by the sackfull in order to extract their juices. Bandages were soaked in the juice and then used to bind sword and spear cuts ~ thus the origin of names like bruisewort and woundwort. In parts of the world, Bellis perennis is used homeopathically for wounds and after certain surgical procedures, even now.


I wouldn’t call them “weeds” even if they showed up in my lawn! Call me crazy! But I think they’re prettier than grass. These were growing in the forest near the road in Hanover, northern Illinois (USA).


Canon Rebel XTi
Unaltered but for cropping

Artwork Comments

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