What are the different types of daisies? (with photos)

English daisies typically have white petals and a yellow center.

There are over 20,000 different species in the Asteraceae family, sometimes called the daisy family. Daisies are star-like flowers, hence the Greek name aster. Some members of the Asteraceae, such as many lettuces and sunflowers, are not considered daisies, but share many of the same characteristics.

The Asteraceae family is quite old, with more than fifty million years of complete formation. Her plants account for nearly ten percent of all flowering plants on Earth, and it is debatable whether she or the orchid family has more genera and species. Daisies include not only the flowers most people are familiar with, but also popular health herbs such as echinacea and arnica, and many edible plants such as artichoke and endive.

When most people think of daisies, though, they think of various flowering plants. While all of these flowers fall into the Asteraceae family, they have little else in common for the casual observer.

Daisies come in all colors and sizes.

The real daisy – which gave rise to the name – is the English daisy, Bellis perennis. The word “daisy” is a contraction of the phrase “Day’s Eye” and references the fact that English daisies close at night and open their petals again in daylight. Daisies originated in northern Europe but spread across Europe and the Americas in the 17th century. English daisies have white, off-white or sometimes slightly pink petals and a yellow center, with green stems and leaves.

Daisies originated in Europe with the English daisy.

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Chrysanthemums, an entire genus within Asteraceae, are the second largest group of flowers that many people consider daisies. Many chrysanthemums look very similar to the English daisy, with white petals and a yellow center. Others come in decorative colors, ranging from vibrant pinks and blues to deep purples and reds. The most common chrysanthemum, grown in parts of Asia as a food crop, is the coronarium chrysanthemum; This flower, also known as the Crown Daisy, looks very similar to the English Daisy, but with yellow petals and also a yellow center.

While many daisies have the typical appearance of star-spread petals around a central yellow area, others look downright strange. The African daisy, for example, has bright purple petals that curl around the ends, and a collection of central florets with yellow and blue tips. The globe thistle, also a daisy, has no obvious lightning bolt petals, appearing like a ball. Many dahlias, in contrast, have the classic star-petaled configuration, with none of the inner florets.

Daisies essentially come in all colors and sizes, from lavender to brown to the purest whites. They can be found in every country on the planet, growing in virtually every climate. They are easy to grow and propagate and are suitable for dealing with extremely dry soil, making them ideal for beginning gardeners.

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