TRR photo by Ed Wesely
Near the gold disk of this oxeye daisy, a tiny spider lurks beneath two petals. (Click for larger version)

Ox eye daisies have been splashing their colors across fields and rural roadsides since late May.

The disk-like flower structures, devoid of secret nooks, induced the small spider in my picture to bend two white rays into a canopy and to bind them with silk – hoping, maybe, that potential victims wouldn’t notice.

The botanist John Gerard, gardener to one of Queen Elizabeth’s ministers, observed that the ox eye "groweth in meadows, and in the borders of fields almost everywhere." Shortly after his death, in 1612, shipments of European grain and fodder to colonial seaports had spread it to similar habitats in the New World.

The plant’s scientific name, "Chrysanthemum leucanthemum," combines the Greek words "Chrysos," which equals "gold," and "anthemon," meaning "flower," with "leuc," which means "white."

"Daisy" derives from Anglo-Saxon peoples, who esteemed it as the "daeges-eage," or "day’s eye."


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