The daisy is a well-known and common flower. We all recognize it. We probably have one of the many varieties of daisies in our own yard. But what do you really know about it? In researching this article, I discovered that I knew nothing in reality.
This perennial is native to Europe. One of the reasons it is common to most of us is that it is easily grown and extremely hardy. In fact, if you mowed down the daisies, they would come right back. You can plant them as seeds or divide the existing ones. They thrive in full sun and spread quickly. It is great for cuttings and used extensively in flower arrangements. Though we love them and are attracted to them, thankfully insects and diseases rarely are.
The daisy comes in a multitude of varieties. Many of them are similar to the chrysanthemum but others stand out on their own merits. The most common varieties are the Shasta, African, Butter, Painted, Swan River, Spanish, Gloriosa, Crown, and the Blue.
A Name with a History
The name “daisy” comes from the Anglo Saxon word for “day’s eye”. That is not because it resembles the sun, but because at night the flowers close up and await the morning sun before opening again. But the flower goes much further back than the Anglo Saxon culture. Archeological evidence of the daisy has been found in sites that date as far back as four thousand years. Their image was used in jewelry, home décor, and even games. It has come to symbolize innocence, purity, and new beginnings. It can also mean “loyal love” or “Promise to not tell”. It is also a girl’s name and is short for Margaret which comes from the French and Latin for Daisy.
Today, they are used in flower arrangements and also it is used by children to make the popular daisy chains. The leaves are also edible in salads. But many of our ancestors would scoff at our limited uses for the daisy. In ancient Rome, the military doctor’s would use the juice of the daisy for battle wounds. Because of its association with the “day’s eye”, many people used to believe that it cured eye ailments. This has never been proven, but was popular for a time.
The Magic of a Daisy
Like with any other flower or plant, the daisy has a history in tales and superstitions.
· If you wanted to know if you would die from a disease, you would grind up the flower and mix it with wine for the patient to drink. If the patient vomits, then death is awaiting at the door. If the patient does not, then he will recover.
· If you wish spring to arrive, you need to ensure that you step on 12 daisies. Otherwise, winter will linger.
· If you dream of daisies in the spring or summer, you’ll have good luck. But if you do it during the fall or winter, bad luck is destined for you.
· The Celts believed that the daisy was in reality the spirits of children who died in childbirth. They came as flowers to cheer their sorrowing parents.
· It was a cure for insanity if you drink it crushed and steeped in wine. But only do that in small doses for about 15 days.
· Henry the Eighth ate platefuls of the daisy in order relieve stomach ulcers (probably caused by his marriage issues).
· The daisy originated the ‘He loves me. He loves me not.’ In the Victorian era, young ladies would pull the petals as they said each of the sentences. Whichever sentence she said last was the fate of her love.
· Want to know how long it will be before you marry? Pick a handful of daisies with your eyes closed. Count the number of blossoms. That is how many years it will be before you claim the marriage ring.
The daisy also has its share in reputed medicinal qualities. It was used as a tea or as an ointment for external needs. If you had any of these issues that you wished to correct, drink or apply a solution of daisies:
· Poor appetite
· Skin issues
· Increase metabolism
· Menstrual issues
· Kidney stones
· Diuretic issues
The daisy has withstood the sands of time. It still stands tall and proud today. Its splendor has been honored in poetry and art. Today stop and gaze with appreciation on the ‘common’ daisy. Its life is far from common.