Delightful Daisies: Many Kinds Mean Many Meanings

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common daisyThere are two types of daisy flowers, though you’ll only commonly find one of them in a florist, or in a flower bouquet or arrangement. The daisy you’ll find most often in nature, though rarely in the florist, is the Common Daisy, also known as the Lawn Daisy or sometimes English Daisy. This daisy flower is native to much of Europe, though now widely naturalised to the Americas as well. Your British author remembers as a young child making daisy chains out of the small daisies growing on our lawn, and maybe you remember doing something similar too. The name daisy is thought to be a corruption of “day’s eye“, because the whole daisy head closes up at night, opening again with the morning sun.

safflowerThe Common Daisy is perhaps the archetypal daisy, the one that comes first to mind whenever we think of a daisy flower, but it is only one member of the Asteraceae family (also known also as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family), the second largest family of flowering plants in the plant kingdom, with approximately 23,000 recognized species. In your daily life, you’ll see many members of the aster family, including lettuce, chicory, globe and Jerusalem artichokes, sunflower and safflower, chamomile, calendula, echinacea and tarragon. Dandelions are a member of the aster family too.

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Many members of the aster family are grown as ornamental plants and some, for example the sunflower and goldenrod, are grown as “honey plants” for beekeepers, or for those who like to attract bees to their gardens. And many of the aster family – and this is why you’re on this site to begin with, I’m sure – are grown for their beauty as cut flowers. Some examples of the common aster family flowers are below, along with the most common meanings. Generally, daisies mean innocence and purity, loyal or all-conquering love, or “I’ll never tell”. For more detail, click on the name of the flower in the left column to learn more about it and its specific meanings.

ChrysanthemumCheerfulness, optimism, rest, truth, long life, joy
GerberaBeauty and innocence
CalendulaJoy
DahliaDignity and good taste, forever
ZinniaThoughts of absent friends, lasting friendship and affection, thinking of you

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