Flower Spotlight: Delightful Daisies
What do daisies symbolize and how did they get their name?
Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility cherished the daisy as her sacred flower, so as time passed, this flower came to symbolize new beginnings. They are some of the first flowers to bloom in spring, as early as April, the month they represent. It may come as a surprise to many that the English version of the name originated by the mashing of the words “day’s eye”, due to the outer petals of the flower closing in around its center when night falls. It is from this peculiarity that the expression “fresh as a daisy” comes from: when someone has a good night’s rest, the next morning they are as lively and cheerful as a daisy.
What kinds of daisies are there?
The flower diameter of a daisy is typically around 3 to 5 inches, about half the size of their larger cousins, the sunflower, who they resemble in shape and composition. Surrounding the disk at the center of the flower, you will first find the disk floret, composed of hundreds of tiny petals, usually the same color as the larger petals of the ray floret that crown the flower.
Most varieties of daisies are native to South America, Asia, and Africa, but they have since adapted to virtually every climate. Today, they are one of the most widely sold cut flowers in the world. The popular varieties of daisies include:
- Shasta daisy: these have a yellow center with pristine white petals. These are the ones you picture on a meadow on a hot summer day
- Gerbera daisy or the African Daisy: this variety has a darker center and it can produce petals in bright tones yellow, orange, red, and purple.
- Barberton daisy: like the gerbera daisy, grows to produce radiant petals of different colors. It usually has a smaller disc, and it can sometimes produce pointed petals instead of rounded ones.
When is it most appropriate to give daisies?
The innocence and purity of children are best captured by a daisy, this is why it is one of the most common flowers to give to new mothers after childbirth. As a perennial garden plant, they work wonders too, attracting butterflies and birds, thereby creating a rich natural environment for children to grow up in. For less fortunate days, they can be brewed into a tea to help relieve coughs and inflammations. Their leaves, rich in vitamin C, can even be added to salads for a nutritious meal.
By V.M. Pierluisi