Ox-Eye Daisies and Yarrow

Ox Eye Daisy (1a)
Mass of Ox Eye Daisies (1b)

The Ox-Eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) Dog daisy, Moon daisy or Nóinín mór in Irish is a very noticeable common wildflower flower.(1a;1b)  It blooms from June to August on tall stems on roadside verges, meadows, wildlife gardens and cultivated fields. There are several rows of bracts edged with reddish-brown colouring below each flower-head. (2)

Bracts on Ox-Eye Daisy (2)

The flower-heads themselves are large and conspicuous with white radiating outer florets and tiny yellow ones in the centre.  Each flower-head can produce thousands of seeds after being pollinated by bees, hoverflies and butterflies.  To propagate it, collect the seeds, dry them and sow in the autumn or spring where you want them to flower.

It was used widely in herbal medicine for the cure of coughs, colds, skin conditions and wounds. Niall Mac Coitir in his book, Irish Wild Plants, wrote that is was often called Easpagán in Irish because it was used to cure abscesses.  “Easpa” is the Irish word for abscess. 

Yarrow (3)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) or Athair thalún or Lus na fola in Irish is a member of the daisy family and its white or pinkish flowers bloom from June to October.(3) It is abundant on waste ground, roadside verges, meadows and pastures.  The Latin “millefolium” translates into a thousand leaves and indeed these are divided into many tiny segments. The Latin, “Achillea” refers to the Greek hero, Achilles, who is supposed to have used this plant to stop bleeding from his wounded soldiers.  “Athair thalún” means “Father of the earth” and it is called by this name because it had a reputation for curing a multitude of ailments such as staunching bleeding.  (Lus na fola” means the herb of the blood). It was also used for relieving the pain of rheumatism and arthritis and curing coughs and colds when it was drunk.