Botanical name: Bellis perennis, Leucanthemum vulgare
Common name: Daisy, Lawn Daisy, English Daisy, Bairnwort, Barnwort, Bone flower.
Physical appearance: There are two varieties of edible Daisy in the UK. The best known is Bellis perennis (the Daisy) but the other, Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy) makes for better eating.
The common daisy is a low growing plant which can be difficult to identify before its flowers bloom. It has relatively small, rounded, spoon shaped leaves, normally dark green. The flower is readily identifiable by its vibrant yellow centre surrounded by pure white petals.
The other species, "oxeye" daisy, has similar but larger flowers growing on longer stalks. The oxeye's leaves are also longer than the common daisy's but has serrated edges. The plant can grow up to a metre in height, unlike the common daisy.
Best places to find: Woodland clearings, parks, road sides, lawns.
Edible parts: Leaves, stems and flowers. The stems taste a little like carrot although no great eating. The flowers have a slightly medicinal flavour.
Time of year: Almost all year round.
Point of interest: An extract of Daisy was use to bind wounds in the Roman era as it was believed this would help with healing. Later on in history, it was thought that an extract of Daisy was a cure for gastro-intestinal ailments as well as respiratory problems. In the modern scientific period, daisy's efficacy at wound healing has been researched and verified.
A milder way to ingest Daisy is as a tea or simply consume the leaves in a salad.
It is both an anti-inflammatory herb and a vulnerary (meaning it improves circulation) herb.
High vitamin C content.
Photos courtesy of Norbert Nagel and Ian Alexander via Wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution
Written by Big D