Famous 17th century apothecary and herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper once wrote: "The Daisy is so well known to almost every child, that I suppose it is altogether needless to write any description'
Perhaps this little flower is the best-known of all our native plants. It adorns our lawns and short grassland from March through to October, each solitary head (15-25mm across) borne on a slender stalk and is a yellow centre of disc florets surrounded by a halo of white ray florets, sometimes tipped and flushed beneath with pinkish crimson. The Daisy is either a happy sight in early spring or, if you like a perfect lawn, it is something to be contended with. The leaves are spoon-shaped and grow in rosettes very tightly into the ground, so tight that nothing else can grow beneath them. The Daisy belongs to the family Asteraceae.
I first got to know this little flower in the garden of my childhood home in Dundrum, Co Dublin in the late 1940's where my parents would do battle with it regularly on our lawn. It always won. I took the photographs in my own garden in Gibletstown, Co Wexford in 2007.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre
For a small flower, the Daisy has played a significant part in folklore over time. Regarding games with flowers:
'They would make daisy chains in the summer time.'
From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. NFC1838:91. From Cos Fermanagh and Cavan.
Daisy chains were made by most little girls by splitting the stalks with the thumbnail and passing the next flower through until the head came to the split, and so on until the fragile was joined to form a crown or necklace.
The name 'Daisy' came from the old name 'Day's Eye' as the flowers opened at dawn and closed at dusk or in dull light.
"Of all the flowers in the meadow,
I love these red and white flowers the most,
Such as men call daisies in our town,
For them, I have great affection,
When May comes, Before dawn,
I am up and walking in the meadow,
To see this flower again
That blissful sight chases away all my sorrow."
Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)