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Helen Maguire, The Northwest Connection

Whether it grows wild in a pasture or cultivated in the garden, the daisy has long been appreciated for its simple beauty.
Daisies are an ancient flower. Hairpins decorated with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on the Island of Crete. Egyptian ceramics were decorated with daisies.

The family Asteraceae, meaning star, (the aster, daisy, or sunflower family) is the largest family of flowering plants, comprised of more than 1,600 genera and 23,000 species.

The daisy’s name comes from the term “day’s eye,” a reference to the fact that daisy blooms are only open during the day and close up at night. This uncomplicated flower has been assigned meaning for centuries—here are a few:• Love detector. Daisies have long been associated with love. The “she loves me, she loves me not,” method of pulling petals from a flower was first used with the daisy to tell love’s fortune.

• Childlike. The daisy flower is often seen as a symbol of innocence—more particularly, the innocence of youth. Daisies have long been given in bouquets to new mothers as a way to celebrate the birth of a child.

• Purity. In many western cultures, the daisy represents purity. In Sweden, for example, daisies are known as “priest’s collars” because their petals resemble the stiff white collars worn by those in the clergy.

• Simply perfect. The daisy has been celebrated in art and poetry for its simple beauty. Chaucer praised its simplicity.

The opening lines of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392 are as follows:

When April with his showers so sweet Has pierced the drought of March to the root, And bathed every vein in that liquor Whose blessed power engenders the flower….

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