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Plants in the Daisy Family

By Jacob J. Wright ; Updated September 21, 2017
Black-eyed Susans are definitely in the daisy family.
daisy 1 image by David MacFarlane from Fotolia.com

The daisy family, known botanically as Asteraceae or formerly as Compositae, is the second largest plant family in the world after the orchid family. There are some 19,000 different species worldwide. While many plants in the daisy family are easy to recognize, with their disc centers and ring of petals, some lack petals entirely or have so many petals as to hide the disc. You may be surprised to learn of some members of the daisy family.


Asters bloom mainly in late summer and fall.
new england aster image by dwags from Fotolia.com

Often displaying thin-petaled flowers in shades of white, pink, lavender, blue and purple, aster flower centers usually are yellow. Both asters and chrysanthemums, also a member of the daisy family, are popular flowers for gardens and gifts in autumn months.


Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) blooms in midsummer.
Echinacea image by Christian Fessl from Fotolia.com

Long-lasting flower displays occur in summer on many types of coneflowers, including echinacea. Their flowers have thin petals that radiate outward from an enlarged central cone. The petals range from violet-pink to white or yellow depending on the species, and they can be arranged horizontally or downward-angled around the cone. The petals drop off when the flower is done, but the cone remains and ripens its seeds, providing food for songbirds in fall and winter.


Goldenrods bloom in summer.
Locust Borer image by Jon Yuschock from Fotolia.com

Although you wouldn't know it at first glance, the goldenrod is a close relative of the daisy. These prairie wildflowers bloom in summer. Goldenrod pollen is heavy and doesn't cause hay fever.


Lettuce is harvested well before it starts to flower.
leaf lettuce image by John Keith from Fotolia.com

If you let a lettuce plant "bolt," or produce a flower stem in warm weather, you'll see that its yellow flowers look like those of a dandelion. All lettuce plants are daisy family members.


Some marigolds hide their central disc with lots of petals.
marigold image by Furan from Fotolia.com

Wild species of marigolds look more daisy-like, with few orange or yellow petals surrounding a small center disc. The ornate French and African marigolds often grown in your flower garden are mutations with excessive numbers of petals.


Bumblebees and butterflies frequent artichoke flowers.
artichoke flower image by thomas owen from Fotolia.com

The immature flower bud is what we eat as a vegetable, but if you leave it to open on the artichoke plant, you'd enjoy a large lavender-pink flower. It is a massive disc without any outer petals.

Blazing Star

Blazing star flowers line an upright spike.
Liatris image by Lidka from Fotolia.com

Visit a sunny meadow environment in late spring to midsummer, and you'll find upright flower stalks lined with tiny violet-lavender flowers. Blazing star's blossoms are tubular discs. This plant is also known as gayfeather.


Artemesia often has scented gray or silver foliage.
Sage at Night image by Gary Chorpenning from Fotolia.com

These plants are also known by names like mugwort, sagebrush and wormwood. Their silver, gray or pale green foliage often smells when crushed, and many of these plants are used as culinary herbs. Their button-like flowers occur above their foliage on stems and attract butterflies. Many of the flowers aren't particularly showy.


Wind-carried seeds form from old dandelion flowers.
dandelion image by david purday from Fotolia.com

Yes, that pesky dandelion in your neighbor's lawn is a prime example of a plant in the daisy family. Its flower head is full of ray petals, even though it looks like a button-like disc.


Flattened flower heads of yarrow are called corymbs.
yellow flowers image by Tanya McConnell from Fotolia.com

Another flower from sunny meadows, yarrow blossoms are tiny but are held in large, flat clusters. Look closely and you see minute replicas of daisy-like flowers.


About the Author


Jacob J. Wright became a full-time writer in 2008, with articles appearing on various websites. He has worked professionally at gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Wright holds a graduate diploma in environmental horticulture from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Master of Science in public horticulture from the University of Delaware.