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Gardeners hate them, greenkeepers detest them, grounds(wo)men loathe them. Yet, little Bellis perennis, the common, lawn or English daisy, is an attractive wee plant, its dainty white flowers twinkling like tiny stars even on the dullest of days. I recall many happy childhood hours spent making daisy chains.

151218 common daisy (2)

How charming that the word daisy comes from ‘day’s eye’, referring to the fact that the little flowers close up at night and reopen each morning. In the Middle Ages, the English called it Mary’s Rose, and its other common names include bruisewort and woundwort. These refer to the plant’s medicinal properties: the ancient Romans extracted the juice from the common daisy to soak the bandages with which they bound sword and spear cuts in times of battle. And herbalists and homeopaths still use the plant today, to help heal soft tissue injuries, sprains and bruises, and to treat skin infections like acne and boils, amongst other things.

151218 common daisy (1)