The Daisy, a humble bloom, yet its bright and cheery spirit is treasured by people all around the world.
The Daisy, a humble bloom, yet its bright and cheery spirit is treasured by people all around the world. After all daisies are members of the biggest plant family in the world - vascular plants. Vascular plants make up 10 percent of all flowers on Earth and grow on every continent except Antarctica. Daisies start blooming in late spring and continue through early fall. The sweet simplicity and genuine beauty of the daisy have made the flower an international symbol of innocence and purity.
It is understood that the daisy derived its name from the Old English phrase “daes eage” or “day’s eye” because of the way the flower blossoms at the first sign of dawn and closes each night. Daisies have been around since 2,200 B.C., when the ancient Egyptians grew them in their gardens and used them as herbal medicine. The daisy family, scientifically known as Compositae, was officially classified in 1792 by German botanist Paul Dietrich Giseke.
Later, the English used daisies to treat eye problems and stomach ulcers. In England, King Henry the VII was known as the King of Daisies.
The most well-known daisy variety in the modern world is the Gerbera. It was discovered in 1884 in South Africa by a Scottish man named Robert Jameson, later being introduced to England. There breeders grew a variety of Gerberas that flaunted brighter colours and were of sturdier quality. The popularity of Gerberas gradually spread to the Netherlands, which then became one of the biggest Gerbera daisy distributors in the world.
A few fun facts about the daisy:
Hairpins with daisy designs were excavated on the site of a Minoan Palace in Crete. The structure was built roughly between 2,000 and 1,900 B.C.
Shakespeare expressed Ophelia’s innocence with the daisy chain symbol in Hamlet
In the 19th century, the phrase, ups-a-daisy, began to be used to tell children to get up after falling or stumbling. Later, it evolved into whoops-a-daisy or oops-a-daisy, which is a remark said after making a mistake or stumbling
Several species of daisies produce a high amount of nectar, making them attractive to pollinators. You can expect the garden favourites, bees and butterflies, as well as a host of other pollinators in your daisy patch.
The daisies fresh appearance has come to symbolise new beginnings, with its bright, spirit-lifting colours spreading happiness like wildfire. It’s for these reasons that daisies make the perfect gifts and decorations for celebrating all of life’s biggest milestone events.
The daisy family Asteraceae contains more than 32,000 species of plants in 1,900 genera. Members of the family are commonly called daisies, asters, or sunflowers.
The Aster a member of the daisy family, also known as the "herb of Venus'', is considered a love charm and was thought to have mystical powers that could ward off evil serpents. It is said they came to be when the Greek goddess Astraea cried from the lack of stars on earth. Her weeping led to so many emotions from within, asters began to bloom. She decided to name them “aster,” referencing the stars she wished to see in the sky.
All asters produce clusters of tiny daisy-like flowers. While wild asters typically run the purple and blue range, cultivated varieties may be pink, blue, purple, lavender and white. As cut flowers, asters have a long vase life and may last up to two weeks.
Asters have had multiple uses throughout the years, in and out of the garden. Native Americans believed the aster had powerful uses for all kinds of everyday complications such as swelling to open wounds, fevers, and indigestion. Nowadays, the flower is most commonly used to aid digestion. They also have prebiotics that they naturally draw from their roots to the base of the stem.
A few fun facts about the aster:
The Victorians used the Aster flower for floriography. Floriography is coded communication by the exchange of a flower; deep purple representing wisdom and royalty, pink portraying love, red bestowing dedication and devotion, blue representing faith, stability, and depth, and white symbolising purity and new beginnings
Thomas Jefferson took a liking to the China aster varieties, cultivating them on his estate
The Hungarian Revolution on October 31, 1918, is also known as the Aster Revolution. This is because of the Budapest protestors who donned this flower. Wearing this flower in their hats, these individuals helped to seize public buildings in Budapest
The sunflower, another member of the daisy family Asteraceae, dates back to 3000 BC where it is understood they were grown by American Indians in Arizona and New Mexico. The sunflower is native to North America and was first domesticated into a single headed plant with a variety of seed colours including black, white, red, and black/white striped. It was later in Russia where commercialisation of the plant took place, the sunflower plant only recently returned to North America to become a cultivated crop.
The sunflower had several uses including being a food source. Seeds could be ground into flour or cracked for a snack, alternatively oils could be squeezed from the seed. The oils could also be used on your hair or skin. Other non edible uses include dye for textiles, body painting, and medicinal.
Sunflowers were introduced into Europe by Spanish explorers around 1500 and the flower quickly became widespread throughout Western Europe. During the 18th century sunflowers became popular in Russia too, this is mostly credited to Peter the Great. However, the Russian Orthodox Church also played a role by forbidding oil foods from being consumed during Lent. As sunflowers were not on the prohibited list, they became popular as a food.
By the early 19th century, Russian farmers were growing over two million acres of sunflowers and by the late 19th century, Russian sunflower seed found its way to the USA. Today there are over 80 species of sunflower, ranging in colour from lemon to golden yellow, orange, pink, red and almost black.
The Daisy flower's message is, ultimately, one of hope and renewal, throwing one's mind back to seeing the world as they once did as a child.