The simplicity that has always been linked to this small flower of the field has not prevented poets and artists from drawing inspiration from it in the development of their works. A flower so beautiful and delicate that many couples of new parents use its name for their newly born baby girl. Then there are the margherita pizza and the margherita cake, both inspired by this simple flower and both delicious! And again the daisy ring or the splendid song "Margherita" that Riccardo Cocciante sang a few years ago with so much passion. It is therefore certainly a flower that deserves to be known and appreciated more than it normally happens.
A little botany
The daisy is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows spontaneously in meadows and belongs to the Asteraceae family. The first to describe it and to classify the species was the botanist and zoologist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck. Its scientific name is Leucanthemum vulgare. What is commonly called a flower is actually a flower head where the central yellow part is made up of the actual tubular flowers gathered in the flower head. The white ones around, which are erroneously defined as petals, are actually modified leaf bracts that accompany the flowers and have not only a protective function but also a banner, i.e. they serve to attract pollinating insects. The reproduction that this plant uses is in fact of the entomogamous type, therefore entrusted to insects. Daisies vegetate almost everywhere, from thin meadows to the banks of ditches, from Europe to Asia. But perhaps not everyone knows that these flowers are attributed curative properties as a remedy for coughs or abdominal pains. In fact, folk medicine used flower heads to prepare infusions for both internal and external use. In herbal medicine it is prepared with them purifying and diuretic teas.
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The meaning of flowers
In ancient times, the Margherita was a plant dedicated to Artemis, daughter of Zeus and twin of Apollo, one of the most revered deities of Olympus and for this reason it is considered the plant of women. In the language of flowers, the daisy can take on different meanings, but all of them are always linked to a positive connotation. Simple and delicate flower well represents, for example, purity and youthful innocence, it was once collected by girls who used it to make garlands with which to adorn their hair. The girl to whom daisies were given as a gift accepted them with great pleasure as she considered it a gesture that honored her purity and respectability. Today, a beautiful bouquet of daisies is often given to a new mother, to celebrate the happy event. The symbolic meaning is therefore not very different, since also in this case the innocence and purity of the new born is celebrated.
The daisy in medieval literature and art
When the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote one of his most famous novels, the dramatic poem "Faust", he chose the name of this flower for its female protagonist. The young woman, madly in love with Faust and tormented by doubts of love, leafs through her namesake flower to find out if Faust reciprocates her love. This habit has been handed down in every time and in every place and even today it is not uncommon to see some girl who carefree and dreamy leafing through a daisy. Well, to tell the truth, today's girls may still do it, but secretly, in the third millennium it would seem too romantic to bold young people. In the works of art of the medieval period, the daisies were even represented to symbolize the innocence of the child Jesus, in fact it was said that they were born from the tears of the Virgin Mary.
Grow daisies in your own garden
Simple, rustic and highly adaptable flower, the daisy is well suited to being grown in gardens to embellish flower beds or mixed borders where it can fully demonstrate its ornamental value. Alternatively they can be grown, with some extra care, even in pots. They are the flowers for everyone, without special needs and easy to grow, even for those who do not have the famous green thumb. In fact, they adapt to any climate and any type of soil, even if they have a slight preference for the rather fertile and well-drained fresh ones. So just place them in a sunny or semi-shaded place and you will soon see the formation of large tufts that will last for a long time, from May to the end of summer. The only care must be to water them frequently, especially during the flowering period. Even the use of a special slow-release granular fertilizer will certainly benefit your daisies which will appear healthier and more luxuriant in the following season.