This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Found in the North Temperate Zone in Europe generally at the present time, there is nothing to indicate that the Daisy is an ancient plant in Great Britain. The Daisy is ubiquitous, growing in every part of Great Britain, and ascending to 3000 ft. in the Highlands.
So common is the Daisy that its occurrence is scarcely noted, and if it were not that it is absent from wooded districts one might consider it as the commonest of British plants, except the Annual Meadow Grass, but as the latter is driven from arable soil probably the two are about on a level in this respect. Fields, highways, hills, as well as dales, are everywhere studded with Daisies in the spring and summer months.
The habit of the Daisy is the rosette habit. The plant may be quite hairless or hairy, according to situation. The root-stock is stout, with numerous stout fibres, and prostrate. The aerial stem is a scape. The leaves are all radical, as in true rosette plants, and lie on the ground, or the inner ones may be erect. They are stalked, inversely egg-shaped to spoon-shaped, fleshy, blunt or rounded at the tip, which is scalloped, toothed, with a broad midrib, dark green and frequently glossy.
The flowerheads are borne on simple, single scapes, with a yellow disk and a white or pink ray. The florets are occasionally all ligulate, or rarely all tubular. The ray florets are numerous in one series, ligulate. The arms of the style are linear, blunt, with a thick border. The disk florets are tubular, 4-5 toothed, the anther cells simple, the arms of the style short, thick, with papillose cones at the tip. The involucre or whorl of bracts is bell-shaped, the bracts in 1-2 series, green, blunt, black at the tip. The achenes are flattened at the margin, somewhat hairy without pappus.
Photo. B. Hanley - Daisy (Bellis perennis, L.)
Flowering takes place in March up till August or later. It is perennial, and multiplied by division of roots.
The flowers are gynomonoecious, with female and complete flowers on the same head. The ray florets are female, as a rule. The disk florets are hermaphrodite. The ray florets are 5 mm. across, the disk 6 mm., so that the whole capitulum is about 16 mm. There are no stamens in the ray. and the styles have no sweeping hairs as happens in some cases, the two branches being covered throughout with larger stigmatic papillae, receptive to pollen. The style is short in the complete disk florets, and is provided with a pollen brush, on the outer surface, from the broad part to the tip. The pollen brush serves as the style lengthens to sweep the pollen out of the anther cylinder, and to heap it up in a mass till insects visit the flower. The stigmatic papillae are in the disk florets confined to a narrow line on each border below the broadest part. The stigmas after pollination has taken place are withdrawn into the tube, and this economizes the use of the pollen.
At sunset the florets close up, hence Daisy (daies eye), and in wet weather also.
The plant is visited by the Hive Bee, Andrena, Halictus. Sphecodes, Nomada, Osmia, Myrmica; flies, Empis, Eristalis, Rhingia, Syritta, Melithreptes, Scatophaga, Lucilia, Musca; and the butterflies Polyom-matus\ beetles, Meligethes, Oedemera, Leptura.
There is no pappus, but the achenes are provided with flattened ribs, which aid in wind dispersal.
Though the Daisy grows apparently everywhere in spring and early summer, from the wealth of flowers to be noticed on all hands, yet it has a predilection for sandy soil, and is more or less a sand plant. It will grow, too, on a clay soil, and in such cases is a clay plant.
A minute little cluster-cup fungus, Puccinia obscura, grows upon it. No insects feed upon it.
The name Bellis, Fuchs, is from the Latin bellus, pretty, and the second Latin name refers to the length of its flowering season and perennial nature.
So common a plant has an abundance of names, which, on account of its universality, we give in full: Bachelor's Buttons, Bairnwort, Banwort, Bennergowan, Bennert, Bennet, Benwort, Bessy-banwood, Billy Button, Boneflower, Bonwort, Briswort, Bruisewort, Cat-posy, Cockiloorie, Comfrey, Confery, Less Consound, Cumfirie, Daiseysheg, Daisy, Dog-, Shepherd's-, Small-, or the Children's Daisy, Dazeg,