For a couple of months now, on the sunniest days, I’ve sat outside behind work to eat my lunch to the sound of bird song and the sight of trees and green.  Always glancing around at the plants as they develop, I’ve been perplexed by a set of oval, slightly toothed leaves – like these:

As the weeks went by long, dark, yellowey, greeny, brown (I just asked my girlfriend the colour) stems covered in white hairs began shooting up.  Still I was none the wiser.

We have two gardeners at work and I knew that they’d have it in mind to strim the entire patch soon.  As the plants got bigger and started to grow buds I knew they were about to reveal their identity – but would it be too late?

A couple of days ago, one and a half flowered – Ox-eye Daisy – so obvious when you see that big ring of white petals around a yellow centre – but I didn’t have my camera.  The VERY NEXT DAY, they strimmed!

But, thanks to some environmental policies of theirs or our workplace, they left a large patch of wild flowers for the wild life.  Brilliant:

The genus of it’s latin name ‘chrysanthemum’ means golden flower and the ‘leucanthemum’ species part means white flower so that’s a rather good description.  Richard Mabey says that John Evelyn says that the roots are eaten in salads in Spain while it says in The Modern Herbal that the leaves are eaten in salads in Italy.  I’ll try the latter tomorrow and let you know.  Irving suggests putting the chopped up buds to your dinner as they have a pleasant odour or taste.

Medicinally the flowers, leaves and stalks can be boiled to relieve them of their aromatic resin which seems to be useful against coughs.  The decoction drank or rubbed on the outside is also said to reduce swelling and heal wounds.  Good stuff!

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