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Bellis perennis

  • Name also: Lawn Daisy, English Daisy, Common Daisy, Perennial Daisy
  • Family: Daisy Family – Compositae, subfamily Asteroideae
    (formerly Aster Family – Asteraceae)
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. With surface runners, tufted.
  • Height: 5–20 cm (2–8 in.). Stem a leafless, often hairy scape.
  • Flower: Single flower-like 15–35 mm (0.6–1.4 in.) capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitula’s ray-florets (female flower) white–pink–red, tongue-like; disc florets (hermaphrodite) yellow, tubular, small; sometimes all flowers like ray-florets. Stamens 5. Pistil of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts in 2 rows of almost equal length. Capitula solitary terminating scape.
  • Leaves: In basal rosette, stalked. Blade usually obovate, irregularly sparsely toothed–with entire margins.
  • Fruit: Obovate, flat achene, without pappus.
  • Habitat: Lawns, meadows, yards, roadsides, banks, wasteland, boat harbours. Also ornamental.
  • Flowering time: (April–)May–October.

An old story tells how daisy acquired its charming appearance. Rose, the queen of the flowers, had a birthday party and all the flowers were invited. One little flower was left out, however – it was shy of its modest appearance and was happy to whisper its congratulations from afar. But the wind carried the flower’s words to the queen, who assured her that there was no need to be ashamed: its dress was spotlessly white and it had a heart of gold. This made the little flower blush, and ever since then the tips of its ray-florets have been pink.

Daisy’s natural form has been bred into many red-flowered varieties, and even violet hues exist. On the other hand, the ray-florets can be entirely white without a trace of red. Pure white daisy’s capitulum is quite reminiscent of oxeye daisy’s (Leucanthemum vulgare) inflorescence. In some cultivated species most or all of the flowers are like the ray-florets and the yellow disc is lacking. Sometimes a form can even be found where small capitula develop in the main capitula’s involucral bracts, and sometimes there are so many that it ends up surrounds by a whorl of them. Apart from a short break, daisy’s inflorescence lasts from early summer until the onset of winter, and sometimes even during long mild breaks in the cold. Daisy is a traditional rockery and edging plant in the garden. It often spreads to the lawn where it grows low and survives at least careless lawn-mowers. It often escapes into the wild from old yards. Daisy has been used in the past to treat pleura, and the young leaves can be eaten with other leaves in salads.

Other species from the same family

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