English Daisy — Bellis perennis

An old, familiar friend arrived the spring flowering party this year in top form, filling low spaces in lawns, meadows, and wayward patches of grass with sweet white-and-goldenrod blossoms. Considered an invasive weed by many, these flowers are among my favorites. Most gardeners simply mow them down and carry on because they’re relatively benign; how much of jerk do you have to be to hate on little daisies, anyways?

English Daisy, Bellis perennis 1
English daisies are one of the first flowers I learned to identify in my early years. Long before I knew what it was, I was weaving daisy chains in the warm sun during recess. They’d pop up in the soccer fields and side yards around spring break. For the most part, they were gone before school let out in mid-June.

Because these little charmers produce petite flowers on leafless stems, they are ideal for weaving. You simply split the stem with your fingernail to make a little slot then push the stem of another daisy through the opening. But don’t expect the daisies to look fresh for long — an hour, maybe two at best.

They are easy to identify. Plants are rarely taller than five or six inches and the elliptic leaves grow in a basal pattern at the base. Stems range from one to five inches in length. Sometimes the stems are a little hairy; sometimes they are not. Same thing with the leaves, which can also have smooth or slightly toothed margins.

English Daisy, Bellis perennis 3
My favorite thing about the English Daisy is the pink tinge of the petals of new buds and around the very edges of more mature flowers. Pinkness varies greatly among groupings, and I always feel lucky to stumble across a particularly rosy cluster. Notice the color of the bud in the image below.

English Daisy, Bellis perennis 5

Pojar, J., MacKinnon, A., & Alaback, P. B. (1994). Revised Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Redmond, WA: Lone Pine Pub. Page 282.


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