Latin Name: Leucanthemum vulgare
Alternative Name(s): Chrysanthemum leucanthemum.
Known Hazards: None known.
Habitat: A common weed of grassy fields on all the better types of soil, avoiding acid soils and shade.
Edibility Rating: 2 (1-5)
Medicinal Rating: 2 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics: Erect perennial herb to 1 m high. Leaves slightly hairy to hairless; basal and lower stem leaves ovate to spoon-shaped, to 15 (rarely to 18) cm long, to 2 (rarely to 4) cm wide, on a long stalk; stem leaves smaller, upper ones stem-clasping. Seeds dark brown, grey or black with pale ribs.
Flowers: Many small flowers (florets) in heads surrounded by bracts in several rows, bracts with dark membranous margins, longest bracts 5–8 mm long. Flowers most of year, mainly spring and summer. The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.
Distinguishing features: Distinguished by creeping roots; stem leaves alternate, toothed to pinnately lobed, upper leaves with base stem-clasping; flowerheads 1–3 (at ends of branches), mostly 3–6 cm wide; florets arising from a pitted receptacle without scales; outer petal-like ray florets 10–35, white, 1–1.5 cm long, entire to toothed at the tip; inner florets yellow, tubular; seeds about 2.5 mm long.
Dispersal: Spreads by seed and creeping roots.
Confused With: Shasta Daisy, Leucanthemum maximum, which generally has unbranched stems, flowers in heads 5–8 cm wide and regularly toothed leaves. Leucanthemum vulgare has irregularly toothed or lobed leaves.
Leaves; Root. Leaves – raw or cooked. The young spring shoots are finely chopped and added to salads. Rather pungent, they should be used sparingly or mixed with other salad plants. Root – raw. Used in spring.
Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Tonic; Vulnerary. The whole plant, and especially the flowers, is antispasmodic, antitussive, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, tonic and vulnerary. It is harvested in May and June then dried for later use. The plant has been employed successfully in the treatment of whooping cough, asthma and nervous excitability. Externally it is used as a lotion on bruises, wounds, ulcers and some cutaneous diseases. A decoction of the dried flowers and stems has been used as a wash for chapped hands. A distilled water made from the flowers is an effective eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
Notes: A showy garden escape.Weed of roadsides, cleared land, poor pastures and turf. Forms dense clumps that exclude other vegetation. Mainly grows in areas with over 750 mm per year. Not readily eaten by stock but if grazed will taint milk.