by Marilyn Cameron
No flower has been more universally sung and praised by poets than the beautiful humble Daisy. In early times, the Daisy signified womanly truth, purity and fidelity, and patient endurance. Being a flower of light, open, it is the emblem of the soul, closed, it is the emblem of purity.
A perennial native to Europe and W.Asia, the Daisy (Bellis perennis) has a basal rosette of oval or spoon-shaped leaves and leafless flowering stems up to 20 cm. Each stem bears a solitary flower-head. Outer ray florets are white, often tinged red, and inner disc florets yellow.
Held in high esteem throughout Europe, this cheerful flower, whose home is everywhere, blooms month in, month out, although it is associated with April.
For the Italians, the Daisy is a sacred flower. It is the star of Italy, symbol of Queen Margherita. The Welsh give it the lovely name of "trembling star", and in Scotland, its blossoms are fondly called "bairns flowers". The use of the Daisy's petals as a means to discover the measure of love bestowed on young girls by their lovers, gave it the name, in Germany, of "love's measure". This custom prevails in many countries where the Daisy is seen as a little love token.
The Saxon name for the common Daisy, is "day's eye". A beautiful and apt name for this little flower. They took note of how at sunset the flower closed its petals over its yellow centre, its "eye", to unfold them again at dawn, as if it were re-opening the eye. Appearing to them, refreshed after what seemed a good night's sleep, the flower prompted them to describe someone who enjoyed a good rest as feeling "as fresh as a daisy".
According to legend, the Daisy owes its origin to a daughter of the goddess Belus, who with her sister dryads presided over wood lands. One day, as this dainty nymph dances with her favoured lover Ephigeus, so sweet does she appear, so fresh, that she attracts the attention of Vertumnia, guardian deity of spring and of orchards, who flies to her side. Ephigeus, heart full of jealous rage, turns wrathfully on Vertumnia, and pretty Bellis, fearful of her own and her lover's safety, transforms herself into a flower, the Daisy.
These beauties continue to please us with their presence until the first snows, and thankfully, no matter how often we cut the grass the, the enduring Daisy pops right back up!
About the Author Marilyn Cameron is a writer, trained in Theatre Arts, a commissioned Playwright, and founder of many Community Theatre projects. She now writes about Nature for Children, Walks in Scotland, and Community Theatre Arts and Mythology at Themestream. Marilyn writes Community Drama Workshops at Suite 101. Marilyn has been writing since she was fourteen and since giving up the active side of Theatre, gives her time to writing. The author lives in a beautiful area of Scotland, Glenelg, which is on the Sound of Sleat, and spends a lot of time in her dreamy mountains and shores of home. Marilyn Cameron is also the happy Mum of a son and daughter and Grandmother to three grandchildren. E-mail the author at Marilyn.Cameron(at)btinternet.com.
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