Daisies are perhaps the most cheerful plant on the planet. You can find them on any continent except Antarctica. Gardeners cultivate them in stately flowerbeds.
In many places, especially in the U.S., daisies grow wild, bringing light and life to the scenery.
Daisies may sometimes seem like plain flowers to those with more exotic tastes. Yet, daisies are elegant for all their simplicity.
When you learn about the history, meaning, and symbolism of daisies, you may realize just how fascinating they are.
What Is a Daisy?
A daisy is a flowering plant with a large, star-shaped head that has clusters of florets surrounding a center disc of yellow or black florets.
The daisy family is also known as the aster family, or Asteraceae, referring to the star-shaped flower.
There are 23,000 individual species in this family. The name “daisy” is based on the words “day’s eye”, probably because the head opens in the morning and closes each night.
Daisies in History
- The first known cultivation of daisies was about 2,200 BC.
- Daisies grew in the gardens surrounding the Egyptian temples at that time. Egyptians used daisies to treat illnesses.
- Later, the English would use daisies to cure eye problems and stomach ulcers. Also, in England, King Henry the VII was known as the King of Daisies.
- In 1901, Luther Burbank developed the Shasta daisy. Since then, over 100 kinds of Shasta daisy have developed.
Meaning and Symbolism of Daisies
The meaning of daisies is related to their cheerful appearance. They are flowers that symbolize positivity. The bride with a daisy crown shows herself as pure and innocent.
Think of a young girl plucking daisy petals, repeating, “He loves me, he loves me not”, with a dreamy belief in true romance.
The daisy symbolizes innocence in Christianity, too. It is a sacred symbol of the Virgin Mary, or alternatively, the Christ child.
However, in Norse mythology, daisies have a different meaning. There, they are symbols of love, fertility, and motherhood. Daisies are also associated with freshness by the phase, “fresh as a daisy”.
In western countries, daisies mean simplicity and transformation.
In a Roman myth, a nymph turns herself into a field of daisies to avoid hurting the feelings to the Roman god of seasons.
In Native American lore, the daisy is a sun symbol, representing joy, life, and truth.
Interesting Facts About Daisies
There are many fascinating facts that set daisies apart from other plants. Here are only a few.
- The daisy family of plants was classified in 1792.
- The daisy flower actually contains two flowers: the petals and the cluster of disc petals are two separate flowers.
- You can eat the leaves of fresh daisies. They’re great in salads and high in Vitamin C.
- Bees use the nectar from daisies to make honey.
- Daisies can be used in herbal medicine to slow bleeding, ease digestion and coughs, or relieve back pain.
- The North Carolina highway department has planted daisies along roadsides for years.
Daisies are unique because they can grow like weeds yet are highly sought after for wedding decorations and floral arrangements.