Daisies refer to most species of blooming plants in the Asteraceae or aster family. The broad Asteraceae family is known for flowers that are flat and disc-shaped, with petals that create rays extending outward from a central core. Daisies are a highly acclaimed garden plant for a good reason. The flowers are easily identified, bright, cheery, and easy to grow. They are staples of both cottage gardens and traditional perennial borders.
Different Kinds of Daisies
There are many species of daisies, but common kinds of daisies include the oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum), and English, or Common daisy (Bellis perennis). Bellis perennis is native to northern, western, and central Europe, as well as distant islands such as the Faroe Islands, but it has spread throughout most temperate regions, including the Americas and Australasia. It is a long-lived perennial plant that can flower for several years consecutively, and it may readily replicate itself through seed dispersion or division after it has flowered. It is not only simple to grow, but it is also dependable. Gardeners who invest in daisies can expect to see their bright, cheerful colours year after year. The common daisy is a particularly resilient plant that will grow in any relatively well-drained soil with a moderate ambient temperature. Not only seen when deliberately planted in gardens but it can also be found in almost any patch of grassland in the wild or growing wildly as wildflowers in meadows.
The spoon-shaped leaves of the common daisy form a rosette at the plant’s base, near the ground among the short grass. The flower head is carried by a single stalk, which is made up of several tiny blooms. They make up the yellow disc in the middle, and the surrounding white ray florets, which look just like petals. Even common daisy has many varieties within their species. The Galaxy series produces dense carpets of red, white, or rose blooms with a yellow eye. Flowers with quilled petals and an almost spherical shape are produced by the Pomponette variety. Bubble-gum-pink pompon flowers are produced by the Tasso Pink variety, while the Habanera Red Tips type produces beautiful white pompons with red tips and a swirl of petals in the centre.
Resembling common daisy in appearance is the Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), which is created by crossing the oxeye daisy with three other wild daisies. Its common name comes from the white snow of Mount Shasta in California. The Shasta daisy does not require much care and it can grow up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide in bushes. Despite its minimal maintenance, Shasta daisies despise wet growing conditions and will often fail to return to the garden following a wet winter. Allow ample space for Shasta daisies to grow so the flowers can be carried high. To keep the plants healthy, it is recommended to divide them every two years. With its brilliant white discs that glitter in the sunlight, this spreading perennial plant is available in both dwarf and taller versions and works beautifully as cut flowers. Flowers occur from late winter to early summer depending on the cultivar and are a favourite of all kinds of butterflies and bees. They have many cultivars of this daisy which offer gardeners several different floral looks, anging from the yellow Banana Cream to the fringed Phyllis Smith.
Another daisy kind is the oxeye daisy, which can be considered a thriving plant in one garden but a weed in another. The oxeye daisy, or Leucanthemum vulgare, is a flower native to Europe, where it is a pasture problem due to its spreading tendency and drought resistance. The oxeye daisy is a popular grassland and meadow daisy that grows to around 20 inches tall. These short-lived perennials are prohibited in many continental states because they are considered invasive.
Aside from the three, there are many other kinds of daisies native to many areas of the world, including African daisies, Marguerite daisies, Gerbera daisies, Swan river daisies, and many others. The African daisy is a wonderful perennial ground cover selection that thrives in full sun and does not require much water. Flower colours span from deepest violet purple to lavender, white, yellow, orange, and lilac. With several unique double-toned effects on the petals, each outer petal has a slightly different colour tone on its underside.
Meanings and Significance of Daisies
The contemporary English word daisy is derived from an Old English term dæġes ēaġe, which translates to “day’s eye”. The Old English phrase refers to daisy blossoms that only open during the day.
Daisies represent purity and innocence. This is based on a Celtic legend. According to tradition, god showered daisies across the earth whenever a newborn died to cheer up the parents. Daisies are also often associated with motherhood, childbirth, new beginnings, beauty, love, and fertility. Because daisies are made up of two flowers that blend together to make one long-lasting bloom, they can also symbolise change and genuine love.
The daisy was highly revered by the Norse and ancient Romans for its symbolic meaning. In Norse mythology, the daisy is the sacred flower of Freya, the goddess of beauty, love, and fertility. This is why daisies are so closely associated with motherhood and childbirth.
Not only culturally, but daisies can also bear a great significance for their environment. The common daisy, for example, is not only beautiful and hardy, but it can also attract pollinating insects and the birds that eat them to the garden. While the daisy has no unique link with any one type of animal, it can contribute to the general biodiversity of the garden.
The common daisy also possesses astringent characteristics, which means that if its extract is administered directly to biological tissues, it will cause them to tighten. Because of this, it was once used by Roman soldiers to soak bandages. The astringent characteristics of the daisy would assist wounds to heal while reducing blood loss when the bandages were applied.