Leucanthemum vulgare or Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Here’s a flower that everyone knows: the daisy! There are several daisy-like flowers in our area, but this one, Oxeye Daisy, is probably the most common in fields and along roadsides in late spring and summer. Blooms can last for up to a month, making daisies a ubiquitous part of our local summer landscape.
Oxeye daisy is a perennial plant, 1-2 ft. in height, that reproduces by seed as well as by underground rhizomes. It can form beautiful, impressive “wildflower stands” in areas where it is allowed to flourish.
This plant begins life as a basal rosette of deep green, narrowly spatulate leaves that are distinctly toothed or lobed. At bloom time, each plant sends up 1 to 3 smooth flower stalks with alternating, lobed leaves. The stem leaves are sessile (lack a petiole) and get smaller as they ascend the stalk.
Daisy flower heads are composites of white ray flowers radiating around a central area of tiny, yellow disk flowers. The ray flowers, or “petals” are gently notched on the ends. The tubular disk flowers provide nectar for long-tongued pollinators who find the flat surface of the flower to be a perfect landing pad!
The word “daisy” is derived from “days eye”. It refers to the observation that daisies close at night— and then re-open in the morning to welcome the new day.
Oxeye daisy goes by several other common names, including white daisy, dog daisy, field daisy, Marguerite, and moonflower (because the flowers glow under the moon). This species is native to Europe but has been naturalized throughout North America.
(P.S.–Legend has it that if you pluck off the white ray flowers one by one while saying “he (or she) loves me, he (or she) loves me not”, you will find the answer by the time the petals are gone! Good luck!)
Oh, and check out another daisy-like flower in our area–Field Chamomile.