The daisy (Bellis perennis) is probably one of the best known lawn weeds, and is very common across all lawns in the UK. This ubiquitous little plant has many other names, including common daisy, lawn daisy, English daisy, marguerite, bruisewort, woundwort or even the noon flower.
It is from the huge family of plants called the Asteraceae, which include sunflowers, lettuces and many common gardens plants including asters, zinnias and marigolds. It is also related to ragwort, dandelions and yarrow.
This lovely little flower is a native to the British isles and Europe. It’s success has enabled it to spread and naturalise to all corners including the Americas and Australasia.
The little daisy is an herbaceous perennial which grows its spoon-shaped leaves out of a single growth node in the centre. The leaves are only about 2cm long and 1cm wide, have a few hairs and grow flat along the ground. In the wild daisies can grow up to 30cm high. In lawns it will rarely get above the level that the lawn is mowed, just popping up a cheerful flower in-between mows.
The bellis perennis flowers are a well known, classic British summer wild flower, populating most grassy areas throughout the summer.
The daisy flower can grow up to 2cm in diameter with their bright white petals and vibrant yellow centre disc. They sit on top of a single, leafless stem, up to 10cm above the main plant. However, the flower of the common lawn daisy is not quite what you think because it is actually a composite flower. It is many tiny flowers all working together to attract pollinators.
The opening of the flower follows the sun. Closing completely at night, and opening fully during the day. It is believed that this behaviour is how it was given the name “day’s eye”, which then became daisy.
The Daisy in cooking
Daisies, although rather acidic in taste, are entirely edible and can be used in salads or boiled as a potherb for use in soups and stews or the flowers can be made into a tea. Similar to common self-heal, daisies have been used in the past for medicinal purposes, including in ointments for treating wounds.
In your lawn, the common daisy may often occur in just ones and twos, in which case it can be manually pulled out with a garden fork. Mowing will have no effect as the bulk of the plant grows beneath the mower blades. However if you have a severe infestation then a chemical treatment may be necessary. It can be easily eradicated through the application of a regular treatment.
If you have a problem with daisies taking over you lawn, then get in touch. I will be happy to advise.
The Lawn Man