Daisies: The History and Origin

DaisiesThe daisy, a flower that suggests joy and happiness, has as rich a history as its cousin, the rose. A popular title as well as flower, our association with it has prompted its use as a girl’s name. Daisies are part of the sunflower family and are bright, cheerful plants. They indicate the arrival of spring and with it, the warmth of the sun. Generally, they symbolize happiness and innocence.

There are numerous clichés associated with the daisy, from the petal by petal practice of “he loves me, he loves me not,” to “oopsy daisy” and “fresh as a daisy.” All the associated phrases highlight the cleanliness and innocence of the flower. Daisies may be one of the first flowers a small child learns the name of, and is the perfect addition to almost every celebratory event.

There are thousands of varieties of daisies in the world today, which all feature the same splayed petal with a bold and prominent center. The name “daisy” derives from the phrase “day’s eye” because of how it closes in at nighttime. The petals uncurl and open each morning. The famous author, Geoffrey Chaucer, referred to daisies in this way in The Merchant’s Tale.

Symbolism, History, and Predictive Powers

Daisies may be some of the oldest flowers on earth. Scientists have discovered their depictions in stone carvings dating back to 3,000 BC, and the flower family may have been around for millions of years before that. In ancient Egypt, daisies were grown along with other flowers for aesthetic and medicinal uses. In Rome, daisy oils were extracted for use as an astringent and to soak bandages to improve healing and sterility.

Norse mythology views daisies as the symbol of the goddess of love, Freya. They represent fertileness and sensuality, though Christians have historically viewed the flower as a representation of the innocence of the Virgin Mary. In some Renaissance paintings, the flower replaces the traditionally used lily to symbolize Christ. The daisy was considered more virtuous and simple than the glamorous lily.

In the Middle Ages, daisies were used as symbols of fidelity by soldiers. Henry VIII is said to have used daisies in his older years to stymie stomach pain and the effects of gout. Daisies were also used during this time in poultices for wounds.













The cliché “he loves me, he loves me not” practice originated in the Victorian era. Young women would engage in the ritual to predict courting outcomes. The ladies would also pick several flowers in a handful as a way to predict the number of years remaining until they wed.

Another superstition associated with the flower include farmers who could predict spring by the number of daisies growing in the fields. Daisies were lucky if dreamed about during the warm seasons, while dreams in colder months might indicate misfortune.

Field-of-DaisiesThe tradition of creating daisy chains may have started thousands of years ago. Flower chains are mentioned in parts of the Bible, and later in many historical works of poetry and fiction. Alice in Wonderland notably begins with Alice sitting in the yard making a daisy chain. The chains are made by tying the end of one stem near the bloom of another flower and continuing until a garland, crown, or bracelet is complete.

Medicine Today

Today, daisies are used to treat coughs, as they are expectorants that help to loosen the mucus in the respiratory system. They are also helpful in treating arthritis, diarrhea, and some kidney problems. Modern medicine has also proven that the plant is helpful in treating wounds and other dermatological conditions. Anyone considering adding a supplement or treatment to their regimen should seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner before beginning.

Types of Daisies

The daisy has more variety than almost any other flower family. The most commonly noted daisy in Western culture is the gerbera daisy, named after the person who discovered them in the late 1800s. These brightly colored daisies are found in South Africa and typically have a darker center than the traditional white daisy. Florists often prefer these flowers for their color contrasts, long stems, and vibrant blooms.

The Shasta daisy is another popular type of daisy that was bred in California. The hybrids combine attributes of various white daisy varieties to create vibrant white and yellow daisies. When daisies are represented in literature and culture, the image of the Shasta daisy generally comes to mind.

Daisies are vibrant and grow in a range of environments. The flowers typically bloom in the summer and have a long growing season. For graduation ceremonies, spring flower arrangements, and other cheerful occasions, the daisy is always a great choice. The flowers are beautiful on their own or as a base flower in an arrangement. Whether you choose to pluck the petals at the end of the day to prophesy your romantic future is, of course, up to you.


Photo Credit:

Photographer Skitterphoto offered the photograph of Daisies under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer Skeeze offered the photograph of Daisy under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer Antranias offered the photograph of Daisies under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer blickpixel offered the photograph of Field of Daisies under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay

Photographer fabistraioto offered the photograph of Daisy under a Creative Commons License on Pixabay