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All About Marguerites

Marguerite, the French word for “daisy,” is derived from the Greek word, margarite, which means “pearl.” The word “daisy” comes from Old English daeges eage, meaning “day's eye.” Our word, “day,” comes from the word “dawn.” The term “day's eye” refers to the way the flower opens its petals in the morning and closes them at night. The daisy is believed to have been in existence for over 4000 years and worldwide there are about 200 species of daisies.



Which daisies are named Marguerites?

In English, the name marguerite refers to several genus and species of daisies. The two genus that produce white flowers with yellow centers are leucanthemum (lew-KAN-the-mum) and argyranthemum (ar-ji-RAN-the-mum) .  


The word leucanthemum originates from the Greek words leukos, "white," and anthemon, "flower," and the species name of vulgare means “common.”  They were split from the genus Chrysanthemum, because they are not aromatic and their leaves lack grayish-white hairs. The herbaceous, fast-growing stem is mostly unbranched and sprouts laterally from a creeping rootstock. This genus originated in Europe, North Africa, and the temperate parts of Asia.  Other names for this marguerite are Oxeye Daisy or Ox-eyed Daisy, Moon Daisy, Dog Daisy and White Daisy. Sometimes it is referred to as a weed.  In the same genus but a different species is the leucanthemum paludosum-- called the mini marguerite because of its tiny flowers.


The word argyranthemum means “silvery flowers” and the species name of frutescens (froo-TESS-enz) means becoming “shrubby.”  Members of this genus are sometimes also placed in the genus Chrysanthemum,which originated in China and Japan.  The argyranthemum frutescens originated in the Canary Islands. In addition to being referred to as a marguerite, it is also known as the Paris Daisy, Cobbity Daisy, Dill Daisy, and Boston Daisy. This particular marguerite makes a great topiary after a couple of seasons in the ground. Pull it up, pot it, and prune it back and let it grow as a flowering topiary. 


Another genus/species referred to as a marguerite is the anthemus tinctoria. It has small yellow to almost white flowers. The word anthemus comes from the Greek word anthemon, “flower,” and means profusely blooming. The word tinctoria indicates a plant used in dyeing or has a sap which can stain. Common names for the anthemis tinctoria are Golden Marguerite, Ox-eye Chamomile, Boston Daisy, and Paris Daisy.


All of these varieties of marguerites are members of the Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ay) family, which includes asters, daisies, and sunflowers. The scientific classification is:

       Kingdom:         Plantae

       Division:          Magnoliophyta

       Class:             Magnoliopsida

       Order:             Asterales

       Family:            Asteraceae

       Genus:            (various - see text above)

       Species:           (various - see text above)



Daisy Floriography


Floriography is the language of flowers. It is thought to have originated in the Middle East (Persia and Turkey) and became wildly popular in Europe during the Victorian era, the time during the reign of Queen Victoria of England, from 1837 until her death in 1901. During the Victorian era there was a great deal of emphasis placed on “proper conduct” and “high society.” It was socially unacceptable for a man to publicly display or declare his love for a woman or for her to respond in kind. During this romantic period Victorians sent bouquets to each other containing secret messages. This was known as sending a “Persian Selam.” Each flower in a bouquet came to have a special meaning. 


Over time numerous meanings have become associated with the daisy. The most widely accepted meanings are purity and innocence. Sending a wild daisy has the special meaning “I will think of it” or “I will hope.” A garden daisy may mean “I share your feelings” or “I share your sentiments.” An Ox-eye Daisy symbolizes patience. Other meanings associated with the daisy are faith, cheer, simplicity, loyal love, beauty, gentleness, youth, modesty, and romance.


Another perspective examines the meanings associated with the daisy's color. White traditionally symbolizes purity and secrecy. It is also associated with light, goodness, innocence, and virginity. The color yellow is symbolic of friendship and joy. Yellow is the color of sunshine and is associated with joy, happiness, wisdom, and energy. People of high intellect favor yellow.



Daisy Affiliations


Numerous organizations have claimed the daisy as their symbol:


Adolescent Pregnancy Awareness promoted by Lifejackets in Florida

Kara Vita, skin care products

Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

Northumberland Services for Women in Ontario, Canada

Hockaday Women's College Prep School, Dallas, Texas

Daisy Girl Scouts of the United States, for girls ages 5-6

No Smoking Day Organisation, in London, England

American Ex-Prisoners of War, a veterans' service organization

Daisy Camp for divorce recovery in Minnesota

The P.E.O. Sisterhood of the United States and Canada

Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri


The daisy is the national flower of Latvia. In the United States, four states have a town named Daisy--Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, and Oklahoma.


The Marguerite is a free shuttle service at Stanford University near Palo Alto, California, and is provided to students, faculty, staff, and the general public. It was named for the Stanford family’s beloved horse, Marguerite.


The Marguerite Route is a 3,540 km scenic road through the country of Denmark. It is marked by brown, white and yellow marguerite signs and takes tourists through some of the most scenic areas of the country and to major attractions.



Daisy Folklore


When the two ends of a daisy chain are connected it represents the sun, the earth, and the circle of life. It was once believed that a daisy chain would protect a child from being stolen by fairies.


In ancient mythology, the daisy is said to have come from a dryad (wood nymph) named Belides. Vertumnus, the god of the orchards, was attracted to her while she danced in the forest. To escape his advances the other gods allowed her to sink into the earth and emerge as a daisy.


He loves me, He loves me not is a game of French origin spoken while plucking the petals of a daisy. The French version offers more options such asHe loves me a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all.


An English idiom regarding daisies, “pushing up daisies,” means to be buried or deceased. Another idiom, “fresh as a daisy” means to be full of energy and enthusiasm.



Other Uses for Daisies

Parts of the leucanthemum vulgare, or Oxeye Daisy, are edible. The leaves and roots may be eaten raw or cooked. They have a pungent flavor and should be used sparingly. It is suggested that they be used with other ingredients in salads.


The daisy has been used in the treatment of whooping cough, asthma, and nervous excitability. The sticky leaves have been used in wound dressing. An eye lotion for conjunctivitis can be made from the flowers. 






This article was written by Nancy Wertz and may be used without permission. Please reference this website when using this article.


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Shop for daisy clothing, daisy appreciation gifts, daisy jewelry, daisy paper plates and daisy napkins, and just everything daisy!


This website is independently owned and operated and is not affiliated with the official website of the P.E.O. International Sisterhood.

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