This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
So widely distributed and well known is this plant that surprise may be felt at its inclusion here ; but its perfect familiarity marks it as a capital type of the important natural order to which it belongs. What is commonly known as the flower is really a corymb or level-topped cluster of many densely-packed florets of two kinds. Those of the central yellow disc consist each of a tubular corolla, formed by the union of five petals, within which the five anthers unite to form a sheath round the central pistil. The outer or ray-florets have the corolla developed into an irregular white flag, which at once renders the composite flower conspicuous and pretty. These outer florets produce pistils only, as though the extra material necessary for the production of the white flag had made economy in other directions a necessity, and had prevented the development of anthers and pollen.
This is the only British species of its genus, which derives its name from the Latin Bellus, pretty. Its second, or specific name signifies that the plant lives for several years. It flowers nearly all the year round, and occurs generally in grassy places throughout the British Islands.
The Natural Order Compositae, to which Bellis belongs, includes no less than forty-two British genera, which are divided into two series. Several of these genera will be illustrated and described in succeeding pages, but in all the flower-heads will be found to be constructed in the main after the manner of the Daisy. Some will be found to have no ray-florets, others to be composed entirely of ray-florets; and all these modifications of the type give the distinctive characters to the various genera.
Bellis perennis. - Compositae. -