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ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)




















common daisy
common white daisy
ox-eye daisy
oxeye daisy


Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum var. boecheri Boivin
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum var. pinnatifidum Lecoq & Lamotte
Leucanthemum leucanthemum (L.) Rydb.
Leucanthemum vulgare var. pinnatifidum (Lecoq & Lamotte) Moldenke
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.
Chrysanthemum vulgare (Lam.) Gaterau
Leucanthemum vulgare Lam.
Bellis major Garsault
Chamaemelum leucanthemum (L.) E.H.L.Krause
Chrysanthemum dentatum Gilib.
Chrysanthemum heterophyllum Willd.
Chrysanthemum ircutianum Turcz.
Chrysanthemum lanceolatum Pers.
Chrysanthemum lanceolatum Vest
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.
Chrysanthemum montanum Willd.
Chrysanthemum praecox (M.Bieb.) DC.
Chrysanthemum pratense Salisb.
Chrysanthemum sylvaticum Hoffmanns. & Link ex Link
Chrysanthemum sylvestre Willd.
Chrysanthemum vulgare (Lam.) Gaterau
Leucanthemum heterophyllum (Willd.) DC.
Leucanthemum lanceolatum DC.
Leucanthemum leucanthemum (L.) Rydb.
Leucanthemum praecox (Horvatic) Villard
Matricaria leucanthemum (L.) Desr.
Matricaria leucanthemum (L.) Scop.
Pontia heterophylla (Willd.) Bubani
Pontia vulgaris Bubani
Pyrethrum leucanthemum (L.) Franch.
Tanacetum leucanthemum (L.) Sch. Bip.


CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.


TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of ox-eye

daisy is Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. This is a classic example of a

daisy. There are many white daisies that have been introduced from

Eurasia as ornamental and herbal plants, although the ox-eye daisy

has larger flowerheads (more than 1¼" across). The various cultivars

of Leucanthemum x superbum (shasta daisy) can closely resemble ox-

eye daisy in general appearance. The shasta daisy was developed by

Luther Burbank from Eurasian species. Its flowerheads tend to be

larger than those of the oxeye daisy (more than 2" across) and its

leaves are less likely to be pinnatifid. In the shasta daisy, there is a

brown membranous margin toward the apex of each floral bract,

while the floral bracts of the ox-eye daisy are brown along the entire

length of their margins.


NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.




Habit: This introduced perennial plant is 1-3' tall and little branched.

The central stem is glabrous to slightly hairy and often angular or fur-



Leaves: A small tuft of basal leaves develops at the base of the plant,

while alternate leaves occur sparingly along the central stem. These

leaves are up to 5" long and ¾" across, becoming smaller as they as-

cend the stem. The basal and lower leaves are often oblanceolate with

slender petioles, while the middle to upper leaves are more oblong and

often clasp the stem. Their margins are coarsely dentate, and some of

the alternate leaves are often pinnatifid toward the base. The upper and

lower surface of each leaf is hairless (or nearly so).


Flowers: The central stem terminates in a single flowerhead on a long

stalk that is nearly naked. This flowerhead spans about 1¼–2" across
and has a typical daisy-like appearance. It consists of 15-35 white ray
florets surrounding numerous tiny disk florets that are yellow. The
receptacle of the disk florets is noticeably flattened. Each disk floret has
5 tiny lobes at its apex and is perfect, while each ray floret consists of a
white oblong petal and is pistillate. At the base of the flowerhead, are
several series of green floral bracts with margins that are brown and


Fruit/Seeds: Each floret is replaced by an oblongoid dark achene that
has about 10 light ribs. The achenes are without tufts of hair.


Roots: The root system is densely fibrous and forms offsets from short

rhizomes. This plant often forms dense colonies where it is allowed to

grow undisturbed.


REGENERATION PROCESS: Ox-eye daisy propogates itself by re-

seeding and by vegetative spread through rhizomes.


HABITAT TYPES: Ox-eye daisy was introduced into the United States

from Eurasia as an ornamental plant. Habitats include mesic to dry prairies

(including old cemetery prairies), weedy meadows in wooded areas, vacant

lots, areas along roads and railroads, landfills, pastures, and waste areas.

This plant is usually found in degraded areas, but it also persists in higher

quality habitats. The ox-eye daisy is often grown in flower gardens, from

which it may escape. Sometimes the rhizomes survive earth-moving oper-

ations, thereby establishing colonies of plants in new areas.


SITE CHARACTERISTICS: The preference is full or partial sun, mesic
to slightly dry conditions, and a loam or clay-loam soil. This is a reliable

and durable plant.


SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs during

early to mid-summer and lasts about 1½ months.


GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Ox-eye daisy has been recorded in all

states in the United States and in nearly all Canadian provinces.




IMPORTANCE AND USES: The nectar and pollen of the flowers at-

tract a variety of insects, including small bees, flies, beetles, wasps, small
butterflies, and skippers. The caterpillars of the moths Cnephasia longana
(omnivorous leaf-tier) and Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria (blackberry
looper moth) feed on the foliage. Livestock and probably other herbivores
eat the foliage occasionally; the seeds can pass through the digestive tracts
of these animals and remain viable. This introduces colonies of the plant
into new areas.


Ox-eye daisy has long been used for ornamental purposes and is often

found in gardens. A native to Europe, it was introduced into the United

States as an ornamental in the 1800s. Unfortunately, the plants have been

shown to carry several crop diseases.


The unopened buds can be marinated and used in a similar way to caper.



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