There is probably no plant that is found more often in different locations and everyone knows: the daisy. Even children know and love the friendly daisy, which beautifies the meadows with bright white-yellow dabs. That the flowers of the petite daisy are edible, many know that like wild herb dishes. However, the herb is also used for cough, joint problems and skin problems.
Profile of daisy:
Scientific name: Bellis perennis
Plant family: composite, asters (Asteraceae)
Other names: lawn daisy, English daisy
Sowing time / Planting time: spring
Flowering period: March – November
Harvest time: March – November
Useful plant parts: leaves, flowers, seeds
Location: sunny to full sun
Soil quality: moderately moist and rather nutrient-rich soils
Use as a medicinal herb: cold, sprains, bruises, skin complaints, wound treatment
Use as aromatic herb: edible flowers, salads, herb butter, herbal quark, herbal pesto
Plant characteristics and classification of daisy
Origin and occurrence of daisies
The daisy is native to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. Even in ancient times, however, it came to Central Europe, as there were more and more meadows. The daisy family is today part of the original vegetation in Central Europe. It is widely naturalized in most temperate regions including the Americas and Australasia.
Due to the fact that daisies make only low demands on location and soil, one finds the plant often in nature. Typical localities are meadows, railway embankments, sidewalks as well as wild meadows and cultivated parks.
Plant order of the daisy
The lawn daisy belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae) and is related to herbs such as the dandelion, the yarrow or the chamomile. In the narrower sense, the plant belongs to the genus of Bellis, which is fairly poor in species with about 12 species. Also, better known is the annual daisy (Bellis annua), which is mainly found in the Mediterranean.
Characteristics of the daisy
Daisies are perennial growing plants which reaches stature heights of about 15 cm 5 cm (6 in). The brownish roots of the plant are usually no longer than 20 cm (8 in). The roots of the daisy are of small length and fibrous-branched.
The leaves of daisies have an ovate, elongated shape and are of a deep green color with a length of up to 4 cm (1.6 in) with a width of 2 cm (0.8 in). Likewise, the leaves are arranged as a basal rosette and grow upright in the air. The stems of the plant are rarely hairy and generally leafless.
The most striking feature of the daisy is the flowering on a 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 4 in) long stem. This consists of white petals, which are arranged in a circle around the yellow center. In fact, the white to pink petals are female ligulate flowers. The yellow part of the daisy flower consists of about 100 individual flowers (florets), which are characterized as a pseudanthium.
The flowering time of the daisy ranges from March to November. A special feature of the daisies is that it is heliotrope. Meaning that the plant is always turned towards the sun. The daisy therefore aligns its flower heads to the position of the sun and closes in rain and at night.
Daisies are self-pollinators and form indehiscent fruits, which are referred to as achenes. The fact that daisies are spread over such wide areas is due to the fact that the seeds spread both by natural means (wind and precipitation) and by animals and humans. The seeds of the lawn daisy can easily stick under the hoofs of animals or on shoe soles, which makes them easy to disperse.
Cultivation and care of daisies
The daisy will find optimal growth conditions in full-sun locations with moderately moist, nutrient-rich and humic soils. Shady locations such as very dry and sandy soils do not like the daisy.
Even if daisies are self-sowing and are not really dependent on sowing by humans, selected seed producers now offer daisy seeds. The seeds are sown in the spring directly in the garden or in the pot on the balcony. After two to three weeks, the first young daisy leaves will grow.
Sprinkle the seeds from June to July in a 1 cm deep (0.4 in) groove. Then cover the sowing again with soil and water a bit.
In addition to sowing, the propagation of daisies is possible by splitting the roots. The mother plant is separated at the root base and replanted.
If daisies grow wild in your lawn, there is no special care required.
Daisies do not need a lot of care. Regular watering promotes flower growth, while fertilizing is not required throughout the flowering period.
In the fall, the soil can be enriched with some humus. Additional fertilization is usually not required for nutrient-rich soils or potting soil. If daisies are at the same location over a period of several years, a few small amounts of compost or a dilute organic-mineral herbal fertilizer can be used.
The daisy can be harvested almost all year round. As soon as the first flowers and the tender leaves show up, the regrowing flowers and leaves can be collected until late autumn. The best quality, however, promise the late spring and the summer months.
Since daisies are hardy, no special frost protection is necessary.
Daisies and its use
Instead of mowing the pretty flowers with a lawnmower, we can harvest and use them many times. Daisies are great for eating, as a medicinal herb, for pretty bouquets and for wreath of flowers.
Daisies in the kitchen
Just like ground ivy, dandelion, ashweed and nettle, the daisy is one of those wild herbs that are not much noticed in many standard cookbooks. However, it is not unknown among wildflower lovers.
From the daisy, both the leaves and the closed flower buds as well as the open flower heads can be used. The taste of daisy flowers can be described as delicately nutty, while the leaves come up with a slightly sour note.
Rich in vitamin C, magnesium, iron and other valuable ingredients, this healthy flower is incredibly versatile and suitable for both hearty and sweet recipes.
For hearty dishes, flowers and leaves are used. They are suitable for salads, in herb-, vegetable- or potato soup, for vegetable dishes, in herbal rolls, herb quark and herb butter.
They also taste delicious freshly sprinkled on bread or briefly steamed in a little olive oil and then poured over the salad.
Still-closed or half-opened flower heads are mixed in desserts and also used in cake. From the little flowers you can also make jelly or syrup.
If you like it more spicy, you can pickle the buds of daisies and use them as a substitute for capers.
As with wild garlic and basil, pesto can be made from daisies. For a daisy pesto only two handfuls of washed-off leaves, roasted pine nuts, cashew nuts or sunflower seeds, olive oil, some salt and pepper are needed. All ingredients are crushed together in a food processor or with the blender to a pesto-like consistency.
Preparation of daisy jelly
This jelly is quick and easy to prepare. It is not only suitable as a spread, but also as a healthy, fruity addition to desserts, porridge or cereals.
- 2 handfuls of daisies
- 1 liter of apple juice (33 fl oz)
- Juice of a lemon
- Gelling agent of your choice
- If you do not use gelling sugar: another sweetener, e.g. agave nectar
This is how you do it:
- put 2 handfuls of daisies in a saucepan and dash with 1 liter of apple juice (33 fl oz)
- leave to draw for about 6 hours
- filter out daisies
- boil apple juice with the lemon juice and possibly sweetener according to instructions of your gelling agent to jelly
- put hot in screw jars
Daisies as a medicinal herb
The daisy has many healing potential and can help us to stay or become healthy. It is simply consumed or drunk as a tea. It has an uplifting and strengthening effect on the psyche.
Externally, it is used for acne, cold sores, bruises and wound healing. For this purpose, a brew of the flowers and leaves is cooked and applied by means of envelopes on the skin, as well as the brew is suitable as a bath additive.
Fresh leaves, stems and flowers can be grated or crushed to help against swelling and itching from insect bites.
Preparation of a daisy tea
A tea from the leaves of the daisy stimulates appetite and metabolism, promotes digestion and can also relieve cough. Thanks to its diuretic properties, it can also reduce edema. It is also helpful for fever, mucous congestion of the respiratory system, liver problems, pelvic inflammation, especially the uterus, and after birth. In England it is often used as a supportive remedy for arteriosclerosis.
- put 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves and flowers in a tea strainer in a cup
- dash with boiling water
- let steep for 10 minutes
- from this tea you drink up to three cups daily
As with all medicinal herbs, you should take a break after six weeks of continuous use and temporarily drink another tea with a similar effect. Then you can drink daisy tea again for six weeks. The break avoids any unwanted long-term effects and the desired daisy effectiveness is maintained and does not diminish through habituation.
Preparation of a daisy extract
Daisy extract can be used for envelopes (for sprains, bruises and dislocations) and as a mouthwash for oral mucosal inflammations.
- put a handful of daisy flowers and leaves in one liter (33 fl oz) of cold water
- leave to draw for about six hours
- then strain
Daisies can be used for these ailments and diseases
- bladder stones
- blemished skin
- intestinal inflammation
- kidney stones
- leukorrhea (whitish discharge)
- loss of appetite
- menstrual cramps
- skin diseases
- stagnant menstruation
- stimulating metabolism
- blood purifier
Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.
Buy Daisies – What to pay attention to?
In addition to the wild growing varieties, garden centers also offer cultures. However, special care should be taken with the increasingly popular Swan River daisy, native to Australia. The plant is similar to the common daisy only in terms of its flower shape. The flower color, however, is blue-violet and the leaves are pinnate. In addition, the botanical name Brachyscome iberidifolia refers to another genus (Brachyscome = blue daisies).
If in any doubt, the botanical name Bellis perennis should be checked for plants and seeds.
Homeopathic medicines are also available free of charge. In some pharmacies as well as online shops, globules are available in different potencies.
Some herbalists and online shops offer dried daisies, which can be used for teas, preparation of ointments and steam baths. The mixtures should contain not only the flowers but also the herb. Dried daisies cost about 5 – 10 EUR for 100 grams (3.5 oz).