The Oxeye Daisy has received the unpleasant title of “weed,” in many states and countries. In fact, in some states like Washington, it is illegal to sell the seeds of this plant or to have it growing in your garden. It is classified as an invasive species and subject to destruction in spite of its beautiful yellow center and white petals. The Oxeye Daisy is the daisy you see growing wild in fields, the one young children often pick and bring home. It is known by such other names as Field Daisy, Golden Daisy, Horse Daisy, Butter Daisy, and Maudlin Daisy. Traditionally Ox-eye means white flower.
The Oxeye Daisy originated in Europe and Asia. In Scotland, farmers who had this daisy in their fields were fined by the government. In the late 1800s the flower appeared in the Northwestern United States, where it is now considered to be a weed. The Oxeye Daisy grows across the United States and is very adaptive and resilient, growing in a variety of soils, temperatures, and other conditions. You can see it in pastures, by roadsides, in meadows, mountain valleys, and in what some would describe as waste areas.
Loved by some and hated by others, the Oxeye Daisy has stems often in the two to three foot range with strong stalks. The stems closest to the bottom of the plant can spread along the ground and form new roots. This is how this daisy spreads or creeps from one place to another. The flowers have a yellow circular disk for the center with anywhere from twenty to thirty white petals growing around the outside of it.
The wild Oxeye Daisy most frequently blooms in May and June. The flowers have a round sheath that supports the flowers and keeps insects out. The plant is thought to have a bitter juice that repels almost all insects. It rarely suffers from pest damage or disease. It can grow from seed in just about any location and can reseed itself.
In Italy, the leaves of the Oxeye Daisy are eaten in salads. Throughout its history, this daisy has also been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. The whole plant with flowers is gathered in May and June and dried. It has a very bitter taste but has been used as an herbal remedy to treat several kinds of ailments. These include bronchitis, colds, night sweats, and jaundice.
The Oxeye Daisy has also been used externally in lotions that are said to heal wounds, ulcers, bruising, all types of inflammations and gout. It is used in ointments, oils and plasters. All of these herbal uses are traditional folk remedies, which may or may not be effective, and can even be harmful to people with certain medical conditions.