1287 Leucanthemum vulgareCommon Names: oxeye daisy,marguerite,white daisy,whiteweed,field daisy Family: Asteraceae (aster/daisy Family)
Oxeye daisy is a slender, erect and sparsely branched perennial that gets 1-3 ft (30-90 cm) tall. It has basal leaves that are spoon shaped, around 2-6 in (5-15 cm) long, and stem leaves that are smaller and toothed on the margins or even pinnately lobed. The solitary flowerheads are borne at the tops of nearly naked, unbranched stems. These are classic daisies, 1-2 in (25-50 mm) across, with yellow disks and white rays. The disks are a little depressed in the center.
Oxeye daisy is similar to the hybrid, Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum X superbum), but the oxeye is a smaller plant, has flowerheads just half the size, and spreads on rhizomes which Shasta daisy lacks.
Leucanthemum vulgare grows wild throughout much of temperate Europe and Asia. In many places it is considered an undesirable weed, invading farms and pastures. Oxeye daisy, first introduced as an ornamental, has become naturalized in North America and Australia where it is considered an invasive weed. It grows in meadows, fields, roadsides and disturbed areas, and has been reported from every state in the US, and from Labrador to British Columbia. This is the common white, roadside daisy throughout much of North America. It is, however, less common in the southern states.
Light:Grow daisies in full sun to partial shade. Moisture: Oxeye daisy likes a moist soil that is well drained. Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 - 8 . Oxeye daisy blooms best where the winters are cold. Propagation: Divide oxeye daisies be separating the rhizomes in spring, or sow seed in autumn or spring. Oxeye daisy is a short lived perennial, but one that produces thousands of seeds per season, with many remaining viable in the soil for decades. As if that isn’t enough, it also spreads on its short rhizomes, sometimes forming dense patches.
This is one tough wildflower. Oxeye daisy is at home in the wild garden, in borders, and in masses in the flower bed. In fact, it makes its home in many places, even where it is not welcome. They can get too tall for their own good and so it is wise to have several together so they can help hold each other up. This might not be a problem since they are prone to spread on their rhizomes and form masses on their own. Oxeye daisies are excellent as cut flowers. Young lovers use them to ascertain their partner’s feelings.
Oxeye daisy has been used medicinally in Europe for hundreds of years. Decoctions of foliage or roots were used to treat stomach ulcers, disorders of the throat, urinary infections, and digestive ailments. It is both an astringent and a diuretic.
The flowers are attractive to a variety of insects including butterflies, bees and beetles. Livestock sometimes eat oxeye daisies and dairy cows which do so are said to produce milk with an unpleasant taste.
Oxeye daisy has colonized agricultural fields and rangelands across North America and often crowds out more desirable crops and forage. In the summertime, many American roadside and fields are literally whitewashed with oxeye daisies.
Cultivation of oxeye daisy is prohibited in Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Ohio, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Prohibitions however, have not prevented this scofflaw wildflower from cultivating itself.
Steve Christman 6/3/17