Ox-Eye Daisy

Leucanthemum vulgare (formerly Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)

ox-eye_daisy_01-03-14.jpg

Photo of ox-eye daisies in a grassy field
Noppadol Paothong
Family

Asteraceae (daisies)

Description

A perennial herb with few branches, providing spectacular displays in summer. Flowerheads are large, to 2 inches across, with white ray florets and a yellow disk. Blooms May–August. Basal leaves on petioles (leaf stalks), spoon-shaped, and lobed. Upper leaves sessile (stalkless), with blunt, toothlike lobes.

Size

Height: stems to 3 feet.

Habitat and conservation

Occurs in fields and pastures, upland prairies, glades, fencerows, roadsides, and other open, disturbed areas. This plant is not native to North America; it was introduced long ago from Eurasia. Although it is a beautiful wildflower, land managers in many states, particularly in the East and Midwest, consider it a problem invasive exotic species. When upland prairies are hayed annually, it seems to increase in abundance. Frequent prescribed burns tend to decrease its populations.

image of Ox-Eye Daisy distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Human connections

In the garden, ox-eye daisy can be an aggressive colonizer that escapes readily. Relatives of this species include hybrids developed for garden use. One of these is the popular Shasta daisy, a hybrid created from two other species of Leucanthemum.

Ecosystem connections

Many plants have been introduced to North America from Eurasia besides this one. Others include dandelion, shepherd's purse, salsify, and henbit. Many of these plants have been in America so long we can hardly imagine our landscapes without them.