Botany & Herbal Medicine @ Lunch - Daisies

Bitesize botany for your lunch. Take your sandwiches, get out and sit on your lawn - did you ever notice it isn't just grass?

Daisy (Bellis Perennis)

Daisies at Kew Gardens

The name - a shortened version of 'Days Eyes' refers to the fact that daisies open their petals in the day time and close them sleepily at night. The scientific name Bellis perennis can be roughly translates as perennially beautiful. There cannot be many people who have never made a daisy chain during sunny childhood days.  Medicinally, this a much overlooked herb, probably because familiarity breeds contempt, however, it is seeing a revival through a traditional recipe for bruises.

'Daisies for Bruises' Balm

Clean, dry daisy flowers can be placed in a jar and covered in honey or oil and steeped for two weeks, (shaking gently every now and then).  The strained liquid can be kept in the fridge and used externally on bumps and bruises, like a British arnica.

The Botany Bit

The flower is from the Compositae or Asteraceae family. So called because the 'flower' is 'composed' of a cluster of hundreds of tiny flowers that look like individual petals. Look at the outer ring of white 'petals' - each one is a single  flower - a ray floret (think sun rays). The centre is made up of tiny yellow flowers - disc florets (they compose the disc in the centre). Get a magnifying glass and have a look!