She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

Ox-Eye Daisy

The Decision of the Flower (1820)

In France, there is a game called effeuiller la marguerite which we know as ‘(S)he loves me, (s)he loves me not.’  One by one this particular flower’s petals are pulled off by a love-struck individual who recites the two phrases repeatedly until the last petal is left.  Whatever phrase is spoken last is supposedly the truth, producing heartfelt sighs filled with a range of emotions.

It would take a special plant to inspire such a game, wouldn’t it?

In Ohio, these highly recognized flowers got started blooming along roadsides and in meadows in May, but they thrive in the summer, preferring sunny locations.  They most often grow in colonies.

Close up, you can see the many white petals and the yellow center of the flower growing off of a single stem that is attractive to insects and birds- and to people.  Think of a generic flower, and there’s a good chance you may think of this one.

This is the Ox-Eye Daisy, a member of the Aster family.  This pretty flower, a popular variety of daisy, came to North America from Europe in the 19th century, and it soon escaped gardens to spread into the wild.  It is still a popular choice for gardens and is deliberately planted along highways in some states due to its pleasant appearance.

Daisies are often cited as a ‘deer-resistant’ garden plant, meaning that deer do not have them high up on their preferred menu, though I do see occasional daisies that have been nibbled by something or another.  However, some people will eat parts of daisies, proving once again that there is plenty of room for differing opinions on taste.

Not just an edible ornament, this plant had medicinal uses in the old days, when it was used in herbal concoctions to ameliorate a variety of conditions.  It has invasive tendencies that do not endear it to some; it can carry viral diseases that affect crops, which does not win it many admirers among farmers.  But a whole host of people down through the ages praise it as a classic example of nature’s beauty, and it is easy to see why.