What are the Different Types of Daisies?

Brendan McGuigan

There are over 20,000 different species of the family Asteraceae, which is sometimes referred to as the family of daisies. Daisies are a star-like flower, hence the name, from the Greek aster. Some members of Asteraceae, such as many lettuces and sunflowers, are not thought of as daisies, but they share many of the same characteristics.

English daisies typically have white petals and a yellow center.
English daisies typically have white petals and a yellow center.

The family Asteraceae is quite old at upwards of fifty million years in its full formation. Its plants make up nearly ten percent of all flowering plants on Earth, and it's arguable as to whether it or the orchid family holds more genera and species. Daisies include not only the blooms most people are familiar with, but also popular health herbs such as Echinacea and arnica, and many edible plants such as artichokes and endive.

Daisies come in all colors and sizes.
Daisies come in all colors and sizes.

When most people think of daisies, however, they think of a number of flowering plants. Though these flowers all fall within the family Asteraceae, they have little else in common to the casual observer.

The true daisy--that with which the name originated--is the English daisy, Bellis perennis. The word "daisy" is a contraction of the phrase "Day's Eye," and references the fact that English daisies close at night and open their petals again at daylight. Daisies originated in northern Europe, but spread throughout Europe and to the Americas in the 1600s. English daisies have white, off-white, or sometimes slightly pink petals and a yellow center, with green stems and leaves.

Chrysanthemums, an entire genus within Asteraceae, are the next largest group of flowers many people think of as daisies. Many Chrysanthemums appear very similar to the English daisy, with white petals and a yellow center. Others come in decorative colors, ranging from vibrant pinks and blues to deep purples and reds. The most common Chrysanthemum, grown in parts of Asia as a food crop, is Chrysanthemum coronarium; this flower, also known as the crown daisy, appears very similar to the English daisy, but with yellow petals as well as a yellow center.

While many daisies have the typical daisy appearance of star-spread petals around a central yellow area, others look entirely alien. The African daisy, for example, has bright purple petals which curl up at the ends, and a collection of blue, yellow-tipped central florets. The globe thistle, also a daisy, has no obvious ray-shaped petals, instead appearing as a ball. Many dahlias, by contrast, have the classic star configuration of petals, with none of the interior florets.

Daisies essentially come in all colors and sizes, from lavender to maroon to the purest whites. They can be found in every country on earth, growing in virtually every climate. They are easy to grow and propagate, and are suited to handle extremely dry soil, making them ideal for beginning gardeners.

Daisies originated in Europe with the English daisy.
Daisies originated in Europe with the English daisy.

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Discussion Comments

anon991966

@post 3: African daisy.

anon146784

i want an information on Aster amellus which is a species of daisy and it is commonly called daisy cvltivar dwarf pink. please help me in this regard. I am waiting for your good and valuable answer. thank you.

anon98707

Does anyone know the real truth about horses eating daisy plants?

anon79570

I have daisies growing in between the cracks of my drive way. They are small, but i am not sure what kind of daisy they are. Can someone help?

anon62706

Does anyone know how long can daisy flowers bloom and when do they bloom after planting seeds?

anon47855

does anyone know five different species of daisy? please help. i need it for homework and i can't find the answer anywhere.

brendan

Both Wingstems and White Wood Asters are daisies that start with the letter 'W'.

anon22479

do you know what a purple daisy is?

anon1544

Does anyone know of a daisy that starts with an W?

anon285

what is the difference between a gerber daisy and a gerbera daisy?

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