Common Daisy: Plant profile
Common Daisy, Lawn Daisy, English Daisy, Day’s Eye, Bruisewort, Brusewort, Brainwort, Bairnwort, Banwort, Poor Man’s Arnica, Neòinean, Nóinín
Asteraceae (Daisy, Dandelion)
Native to Europe, Daisy has become widely naturalised in most temperate regions, including the Americas and Australasia. It’s extremely common all over the UK and Ireland.
Where to find Common Daisy
Thriving in moist, nutrient-rich soil, Daisy is a common plant in meadows, stream banks and grassland. Very often growing in urban areas, this herb is common on lawns and roadsides.
When to find Common Daisy
Leaves are available most of the year but they are at their best in late winter, while flowers are best in spring.
How to identify Common Daisy
Daisy is a low evergreen perennial herb. The leaves are arranged in a basal rosette and are very small, dark green in colour and spoon-shaped, featuring tiny hairs. The flower heads are terminal, coming from a thin leafless stem and are composed of white ray florets (often tinged pink) and yellow disc florets in the centre.
Common Daisy lookalikes
The leaves may be difficult for beginners to identify when the flowers are not present.
Flowers are very similar to other members of the same family, such as Ox-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Wild Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and Scented Mayweed (Matricaria recutita) – but are easy to tell apart by the leaves and are equally edible.
All about Common Daisy
Often thought of as a weed, those beautiful white flowers with bright yellow cores brighten up lawns and verges all over the country during the warmer months. Most people have fond childhood memories of those long summer days sitting with friends on the soft grass collecting flowers to create ‘Daisy chains’.
Its name may be a corruption of “Day’s Eye”, as the flowers open with the morning light, following the position of the sun as the day progresses, to eventually close whenever the sun goes.
Medicinal properties of Common Daisy
Common Daisy is an underestimated medicinal plant that has been used for centuries to treat a number of ailments – eventually falling out of use in modern herbal medicine.
The herb once had a great reputation to relieve aches, pains, cuts and bruises; usually applied topically, either fresh poultice of the herb or through ointments made from the infused oil. In fact, recent research confirms the cicatrising properties of Common Daisy.
In addition, an infusion of this herb, which is full of vitamin C, relaxes coughs and catarrh due to its expectorant properties. Modern researchers are investigating therapeutic uses and studying potential antimicrobial properties, as well as anti-tumour activity.
Culinary uses and recipes with Common Daisy
The whole plant is edible, but the flower heads are the most popular part for culinary purposes. However the flavour of Daisy is quite mild and slightly acrid, understandably not to everyone’s taste, so it’s mostly used to add visual appeal as a decoration.
Pluck the young leaves and flowers and add them to salads or infuse them into schnapps, syrups and pickles. In case you decide to pan-fry the rosettes, do it slightly because otherwise, it will lose all the flavour.
Safe foraging of Common Daisy
Few side effects are recorded from the use of Daisy in food or medicine. Use only in moderation, especially for pregnant women. Some people can have an allergic reaction to members of the daisy family.
Ecological importance of Common Daisy
The flowers offer a welcome source of nectar and pollen for insects such as bees, flies and beetle in urban spaces where there are not many other flowers around.