Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ox-eye Daisy

Botanical name: Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Asteraceae)
Other name: White Daisy, Margurite Daisy, White Weed, Moon Daisy, Oxeye, Leucanthemum vulgare

An herbaceous perennial in the aster family (Asteraceae) with numerous stems from 1 to 3 feet tall. Stems are slender, erect and may emerge from the root crown or singly from an upturned rhizome. Stalked basal leaves are spoon-shaped, broadly toothed, and 2 to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide. The stem leaves are alternate, smooth, glossy and dark green. The leaf stalks are short and clasp the stem. Solitary flower heads composed of 15-30 white ray florets that surround a compact yellow disc with a depressed center. Flowers occur singly at the ends of stems and bloom from June to August. The fruit is a flat seed 0.08 in long, 10-ribbed, dark gray at maturity with no pappus. The root system is comprised of shallow, un-branched roots and rhizomes. Plants reproduce by roots and seeds.

How to grow
Excellent as a ground cover or border since the foliage is attractive and remains green year round. An ideal cut flower for arrangements lasting up to ten days. A prolific reseeder.

Soil: Moist and rich soil with well-drained
Spacing: 12” to 15”
Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Germination: 15-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 70F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: May-July

Ox-Eye Daisy is edible and medicinal. Young spring shoots are edible, finely chopped and sparingly added to salads, said to be strong and bitter, young leaves are cooked as a pot herb. The whole plant, and especially the flowers, used as a medicinal herb is antispasmodic, antitussive, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, tonic, nervine and vulnerary. Constituents include Essential oils, Tannin, Saponins, Mucilag, Bitter Principle and Flavones. It has much of the same properties of Chamomile. The flowers are balsamic and make a medicinal infusion for relieving chronic coughs and for bronchial problems. The herb is used in the treatment of whooping cough, asthma and nervous excitability. The root is used successfully for stopping the night-sweats of pulmonary consumption. Externally, it is used as a medicinal lotion for wounds, bruises, and ulcers. A distilled water made from the flowers is an effective eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

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