It’s April, and that means it’s time to celebrate daisies, the April birth flower! Daisies are used in a myriad of arrangements, from weddings to funerals to romantic bouquets and prom night corsages. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, they had meanings tied to innocence and true love. Games, garlands, and gala all accompany the daisy through history and into the modern era.
We might think we know this common and popular flower, but even an innocent daisy holds secrets that a lot of people may find surprising. Read on and learn all about April’s flower, the daisy!
Daisies Grow Best in Summer
It’s kind of funny that April is daisy month, because daisies actually grow best in summer. In some places, they are called by the nickname “thunderflower” because in most locales, the summer months bring these exciting storms, and the daisies have a front-row seat to nature’s best fireworks.
Daisies bloom yearly from a plant that spreads out on the ground using a sideways stem called a rhizome, rather than growing upward like a rosebush. The best time to plant them, as a result, is either as seeds in late autumn before the first winter frost, or as clippings in late spring.
10% of the World’s Growing Flowers Are Daisies
There are so many types of daisies, which are in the family Compositae (also called Astericae) and grow almost everywhere. As a result, a high percentage of flowering plants are in the daisy family. There are over 4,000 different types of daisy, including gerbera, common, white button, Zulu princess, and African daisy. In fact, sunflowers are also a part of this family! Daisies are also not picky about their locale and can grow in sun, shade, or parts of both. The only continent on the planet that doesn’t have daisies is Antarctica.
The Day’s Eye
Daisies’ name comes from the old English daes eag, which means “day’s eye.” This is because daisies open at sunrise and close right around sunset. Reaching out to daylight as they do, daisies became associated with the sun in much the same way as their cousin, the sunflower. The girl’s name Daisy also originated from this source, as does the girl’s name Margaret, which is derived from the French word for the flower, Marguerite. In fact, to this day, a Marguerite is a type of daisy.
Two Flowers for the Price of One
What looks like one flower to us is actually two separate flowers growing together! The central disk floret is often yellow in color, and is just one of the two flowers. Growing around the disk floret are the ray florets, the white petals we all know and love.
These two parts are actually two separate flowers that grow in tandem to become one beautiful bloom! However, the ray florets come in many colors, including orange, red, yellow and purple. While the colors each symbolize a different aspect and use for daisies, the quality of being two flowers to make a distinctive whole associates daisies with true love, harmony and loyalty.
Daisies are Ingestible
Humans can eat daisies! The leaves and petals are sometimes used in salads and are very nutritious, being high in Vitamin C. They have other healing properties, too, helping remove dark spots on the skin such as bruises, pain-killing properties, and medicinal purposes, such as sore throats and indigestion. Herbalists have used the extracts, leaves, petals, and poultices since the time of the Egyptians.
English Daisies Are Weeds
Not all daisies are desired. Some varieties of daisy, such as the English daisy, are considered weeds. They grow on people’s lawns all over North America and are very difficult to get rid of. This is because daisies can grow just about anywhere and have a resistance to many predators and pesticides. They grow so prolifically because their structure allows them to nourish themselves easily. This makes them a great pick for beginning gardeners, but also makes them hard to get rid of if you don’t want them around.
Daisies Are Related to Ragweed
Watch out for allergies when it comes to daisies! They are related to ragweed and goldenrod, both of which tend to set off the sinuses of those allergic to pollen. In fact, the entire Astericae family, which also includes asters, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers, is known for stimulating allergic reactions. This can affect both your garden, and all your flower arrangements. Even though daisies are the birth flower for the month of April, you wouldn’t want to give a bouquet containing them to someone who is allergic!
Daisies are often associated with children, innocence, and purity. In Christianity, this has linked them with the Virgin Mary, and elsewhere, this has made them a popular flower to celebrate births and school children’s events such as proms, recitals, and communions. Because they are a combination of two flowers growing together as one, they tend to also represent harmony, loyalty and true love. In fact, daisies are famous for the “he/she loves me/loves me not” game, in which people divine whether their love interest returns the feelings by pulling the ray florets off. Since daisies grow in different colors, each color also symbolizes something different. Yellow daisies, for example, are linked with friendship while white daisies represent humility.
Daisies are of huge assistance to keep the bee population strong. Bees love to pollinate daisies because the disk floret is loaded with all kinds of yummy nectar and the shape of the two florets together is very welcoming to our honey-making friends. This goes both ways, too--while the bee is gathering the nectar, it is rolling around in lots of pollen, which is then spread to the female part of the plant, or carried to other plants. This helps daisy seeds form and spreads the plant. The bees then take that nectar back to the hive, where it is used to make honey that is then harvested into a sweet treat for humans!
Since they are so easy to grow and thrive just about anywhere, daisies make great gifts! They are great in bouquets for those April birthdays,especially since they come in a variety of colors that can compliment or be enhanced by many other flowers. For the green thumbs in your life, daisies grow easily, even indoors, and are great for beginners because they are so easy to care for!
Daisies are also a popular flower to include in get well soon bouquets, and their symbolism of innocence make them ideal for arrangements celebrating a new baby. Gerbera daisies come in a variety of colors and are sometimes used on corsages for proms and other school events. Even an imitation daisy can brighten someone’s day, so don’t leave out your loved ones that suffer from allergies: artificial daisies are available, too!
Daisies have a lot to offer, from pretty decor to soothing tea to flavorful honey. Their widespread growth and frequent use makes it hardly any wonder they are so popular. With all of the different ways daisies can brighten your life, you are sure to find a use for them in your garden, home, or as a gift to a loved one this April!