When you ask a child to draw a flower, a simple yellow circle, surrounded by ovate petals is usually the result. Daisies (Bellis perennis) are what most would consider to be a typical flower. However, I hope that in the next few paragraphs I can convince you that daisies are anything but common within the world of flowers. Plot twist: daisies are not even flowers at all.
Seeing these beautiful yellow faces, smiling up at you from a garden lawn signals one thing: spring is here. The Latin name, Bellis perennis is, to me, very fitting for this plant. Bellis comes from the Latin ‘bellus’ meaning ‘pretty’, and perennis meaning ‘everlasting’. They certainly feel like everlasting beauties, as they never fail to blossom, and add a touch of colour to a sea of green each spring.
Where there is grass, you will often find it’s iconic companion, thus giving the daisy other common names, such as the lawn daisy or English daisy. But it’s also been known by others in its time; Once named ‘Bruisewort’, as it was thought to cure bruises, and ‘Woundwort’ because of its astringent properties. Roman soldiers would soak bandages in water infused with crushed daisy, and apply them to wounds to stop bleeding.
But I suppose you’re still wondering, ‘what did she mean by, ‘not a flower’?’. Well, here’s where the story gets interesting. A single daisy, what you would call a flower, isn’t one flower. It is a composite flower, one made up of hundreds of smaller flowers. The fancy term for this is pseudanthium – a great word to drop in conversations when you’re trying to look smart. Daisies are made up of two types of flower, the yellow, petal-less disk flowers in the centre, surrounded by a row of ray flowers with a single, white petal.
I suppose, of all the plants I could have started my blog with, this might seem unusual. But I wanted to start off by showing you that you don’t have to travel far to find wonder and beauty in the botanic world. Much of it is right by your doorstep, if you’ll only take a closer look.