The ox eye daisy is a perennial plant from the asteraceae or compositae family. It is also known as margarite, maudlinwort, common daisy, dog daisy,horsegowan and moon daisy. The old botanical name was Chrysanthemum leucanthemum. They are similar to the more prevalent daisy (Bellis perennis) normally seen in lawns but are taller with a much larger flower. The foliage is dark green and smooth.
|Ox Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)|
Native to Europe and northern Asia, ox eye daisies are commonly found in fields, clearings, disturbed areas and by the side of roads. Unfortunately, they are listed as a noxious weed in many countries of the world including America and Australia.
Raw Edible PartsAll the aerial parts are edible raw. The flowers and leaves can be used in salads and the flower buds can be pickled like capers. Many references say to eat the petals only on the flower but we find the whole flower very tasty although too many seems to make our tongues numb! The fresh or dried leaves and flowers can also be used to make a tea. The upper stems usually die back in the colder months but in milder areas the basal leaves may still be seen.
Other usesOx eye daisies were used in folk medicine for centuries. The Herbal Manual by Harold Ward lists it as antispasmodic and a tonic. It was used to treat whooping cough, asthma and internal wounds and ulcers, amongst other things. Like chamomile it has a calming effect. It is a really pretty little flower and is very long lasting. The open flower heads attract a large range of pollinating insects particularly bees, butterflies and hoverflies.
Growing Ox Eye Daisies
Seeds will germinate in the autumn or the spring although they can actually be sown at any time of the year. Seeds are able to remain viable in the soil for many years. This plant is generally dependent on seed for regeneration. However, a new plant can grow from a piece of rhizome which makes it difficult to get rid of (as if you'd want to). Basal cuttings can be taken in the spring from existing plants. Plants grow to around half a metre high and they do best in soils with a low fertility. They are hardy to -20°C. Now is the time to see them as they flower from around May to September.
NEW EBOOK ... coming soon
|New ebook Raw Edible Flowers & Leaves|
Raw Edible Flowers and Leaves contains over 250 plants with raw edible flowers and leaves. As the title suggests, they all have raw edible flowers and leaves. However, most are blessed with many other raw edible parts and these are also listed. Everything can be grown in the temperate maritime climate of the British Isles as well as other areas of the world, including much of Europe and North America.