Bellis is a genus of flowering plants, mostly perennials, that belong to the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and are native to Europe and northern Africa.
The genus contains 10 species including Bellis perennis, the so-called “common daisy” or “English daisy”, often considered to be the iconic symbol of the whole species.
Bellis members have basal leaves and solitary flower heads borne on simple stalks. They are excellent for beds, borders and rock gardens.
The genus name “Bellis” is the Latin word for “pretty” or “beautiful”.
The common name “Daisy” is a corruption of “Days Eye” and refers to the way that the flower closes at night and opens in the day, because at night the petals close over the yellow center and during the day they re-open.
It is also a slang word for something of excellent quality.
Bellis represents innocence, purity, rebirth and new beginnings.
Interesting facts about Bellis:
Although they give the impression of being a single flower, they are made up of two types of flowers – disc florets (at the center) and petal-like ray florets (at the periphery), so they actually consist of two flowers combined into one.
Daisy leaves are edible and can make a tasty addition to salads.
Plants grow rapidly and spread quickly. Due to the fact they are resistant to most bugs and pesticides, they become invasive in many areas.
This flower inspired many authors and poets throughout history.
For example, Shakespeare used a daisy chain in Hamlet to represent Ophelias innocence.