Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae
Common names for this very common perennial wildflower, the largest of Britain's native daisy species, include Ox-eye (or Oxeye) Daisy, Dog Daisy and Marguerite; in the past it was also referred to as Moon Daisyt.
These striking wildflowers reach a height of typically 30 to 80 cm, although on wind-swept coastal cliffs and exposed small islands they adapt to conditions and crouch down low among the grasses. The stems are hairy at the base but more or less hairless higher up, and they bear large spoon-shaped lower leaves with progressively smaller toothed leaves that clasp the stems further up. The flowers are typically between 2.5 cm and 5 cm in diameter, each with up to 40 white ray florets (bearing the outer 'petals' as they are often loosely termed). Propagation is mainly by seed, although on disturbed poor soils Ox-eye Daisies act as pioneers and can also spread via rhizomes, at least until other rank vegetation takes over.
Native to Europe and some temperate parts of Asia, this rapidly-spreading wildflower has been introduced to many other parts of the world including North America, Australia and New Zealand.
In Britain in particular, Ox-eye Daisies are often to be seen in great abundance on roadside banks (most particularly on the slopes of motorway cuttings, where they are often introduced), on grassy banks of rivers and streams, and even in meadows that are not too heavily grazed (as seen in the picture below).
In Britain and Ireland, Leucanthemum vulgare flowers first appear in May and are usually at their peak in June and July, but sporadic blooming usually continues into September.
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