Quick facts

Common names: oxeye daisy, moon daisy, mayweed

Scientific name: Leucanthemum vulgare

Family: Daisies

Origin: native

Flowering season: May to September

Habitat: grassland and woodland edges

What does oxeye daisy look like?

Oxeye daisy is a small perennial and our largest native member of the daisy family.

Leaves: basal (grow from the lowest part of the stem), often described as spoon shaped.

Flowers: white petals surrounding a bright yellow centre. They grow in solitary heads and are around three to five centimetres wide.

Not to be confused with: daisy (Bellis perennis). However, though the flower heads are much alike in appearance, the daisy’s flowers are significantly smaller at around two centimetres wide. Scentless mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum) and scented mayweed (Matricaria recutita) also have similar flower heads but their leaves are very different, forming a thin and thread-like network

Where to find oxeye daisy

A resilient little flower, look for oxeye daisies on roadside verges, meadows and waste ground.

Credit: Keith Burdett / Alamy Stock Photo

Value to wildlife

The yellow centre of the oxeye daisy is made up of many small flowers which hold nectar and are exploited by various pollinating insects, including butterflies, bees and hoverflies.

Mythology and symbolism

The Latin name Leucanthemum is said to have originated from the ancient Greek word ‘leucos’, meaning white.

It was thought to be strongly linked to divination, particularly in France, where it would be used in romantic predictions. These links to divination have filtered down to the modern game of ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ where petals are picked to determine luck in love.

Credit: Derek Croucher / Alamy Stock Photo

Uses of oxeye daisy

The plant was used in traditional medicines to treat various health problems, such as coughs and asthma. The flower heads have also been used to make tea.

Did you know?

The oxeye daisy was dedicated by the Greeks to Artemis, goddess of the moon.

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