daisy [O.E., = day's eye], name for several common wildflowers of the family Asteraceae (aster family). The daisy of literature, the true daisy, is Bellis perennis, called in the United States English daisy. This is a low European plant, cultivated in the United States mostly in the double form, with heads of white, pink, or red flowers. The English daisy, which closes at night, has long been considered the flower of children and of innocence. A purple species native to the lower Mississippi basin is called Western daisy ( Astranthum or Bellis integrifolium ). The common, often weedy, daisy of the United States ( Chrysanthemum leucanthemum ), called also white, or oxeye, daisy, is native to Europe but naturalized in America. The white daisy is one of the plants named marguerite, but the usual marguerite in cultivation is C. frutescens, a bushy perennial with white or lemon-yellow flowers, native to the Canary Islands and called also Paris daisy. Among other plants called daisy, yellow daisy is a synonym for the black-eyed Susan; Michaelmas daisy, for an aster. The seaside daisy and daisy fleabane are species of the fleabane genus. Daisies are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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