Ox-eye Daisies Leucanthemum vulgare (formerly Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) were the first Missouri wildflowers I learned to identify before they were blooming. There was a field of them behind where I was living so I waited for them to die back and took note of what their rosette shape looked like so I could transplant some the following year.
Although identified as a Missouri wildflower, Ox-eye Daisies were introduced to North America from Eurasia. Others include dandelion, shepherd's purse, salsify, and henbit.
Ox-eye Daisies are herbs and the original plant that was bred to produce the more popular, and well-behaved, Shasta Daisy.
Ox-eye Daisies can be invasive and easily take over an area, which earns them the moniker of weed. I love seeing them along road sides and in my garden, they are very happy flowers and undoubtedly inspired me to carry this crochet daisies lap quilt throw.
Interestingly enough, this perennial is edible although I have to confess I haven’t tried them. Yet.
As I was looking at what was visiting this personal favorite, I spotted another, smaller white daily-like flower. Can you spot it?
(Hint. Bottom left)
Philadelphia Fleabane Erigeron philadelphicus looks similar to Ox-eye Daisies but the white petals look more like someone took a pair of scissors and cut up the petals into a fringe. Philadelphia is considered a native Missouri wildflower and is a favorite food source of many of Missouri’s native bees including mason bees, small carpenter bees and cuckoo bees.
Philadelphia Fleabane flowers are also about half the size of Ox-eye Daisies so it’s easy to distinguish them when sitting together in a field.
Both flowers are simply white flowers with yellow centers but both are nice hosts to a number of insects, which means they have a nicely established job in our garden’s ecosystems.
One more thing about Ox-eye daisies. Did you know they are edible? You can sprinkle the white petals on a salad. According to Jan Philips, the green leaves can also be added to a salad and may be “an acquired taste.”
I suspect some people are still trying to get over that they can eat Ox-eye Daisies.