Synonyms: Chrysanthemum leucanthemum Other names: field daisy, marguerite, maudlinwort Nomenclature: vulgare = common, ordinary Nativity / Invasiveness: noxious weed in Montana
General: plant 20-80 cm tall. Growth habit: erect perennial with a more or less well developed rhizome, often growing in colonies. Stems: single or nearly so, hairless or sparsely hairy.
Leaves: alternate, spoon-shaped, hairless or soft-hairy. Basal leaves broad and stalked, 4-15 cm long, narrowly lobed to blunt-toothed, stem leaves narrower, reduced and becoming stalkless.
Flowerheads: white, showy, about 5 cm wide, solitary at the end of the long, leafless branches, with 15-30 rays, 1-2 cm long. The disk mostly 10-20 mm wide. Involucral bracts with a narrow, dark-brown band near the edge. Outer bracts lance-triangular, the inner more oblong.
Fruits: cylindrical achenes, about 10-ribbed, without pappus.
Fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas in w. and c. parts of MT. Native of Eurasia, naturalized throughout much of temperate N. America.
The leaves of oxeye daisy can be eaten raw or cooked. The young spring shoots are finely chopped and added to salads. Since they are rather pungent, they should be used sparingly or mixed with other salad plants. The root can be eaten raw too, preferably in the spring.
The whole plant, and especially the flowers, has medicinal properties that are antispasmodic, cough-relieving, sweat- and urination-inducing and wound-healing. It is harvested in May and June and then dried for later use. The plant has been employed successfully in the treatment of whooping cough, asthma and nervous excitability. As a tonic, it acts similarly to chamomile flowers, and has been recommended for nightsweats. The flowers are balsamic and make a useful tea for relieving chronic coughs and for bronchial catarrhs. Boiled with the leaves and stalks and sweetened with honey, they make an excellent drink for the same purpose. In America, the root is also employed successfully for checking the night-sweats of pulmonary consumption, the fluid extract being taken, 15 to 60 drops in water. Externally, it is serviceable as a lotion for wounds, bruises, ulcers and some cutaneous diseases. A decoction of the dried flowers and stems has been used as a wash for chapped hands. A distilled water made from the flowers is an effective eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
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