Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oxeye Daisy

After mowing a field in the winter, I should be able to enjoy the greening of the field in the spring followed by the prairie flowers of summer that are slowly hidden by the late summer tall grasses. All of those things will occur this year, but they are being joined by an unwelcome event. Those patches of white in the field aren’t reflections of clouds. They are rafts of Oxeye Daisy, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, that have invaded the fields. It may be a favorite flower of many people, but Ohio Revised Code officially lists it as a noxious weed. It’s discouraging to have someone look at your field, point to the Oxeye Daisies and say “Oh, aren’t those beautiful. Where can I get plants like that?”

I was on a naturalist led hike about 25 years ago and commented on Oxeye Daisy growing in one of the Ohio barrens. I was told that it wasn’t a concern because it just filled in the voids and didn’t seem to be displacing any of the native flora. I think we’ve now learned that to be an inaccurate observation. This field is not one that you would consider to have voids. What it had was an opportunity for this aggressive early season plant to establish itself before the warm season prairie species began to grow.

Oxeye Daisy does have a nice flower and many people welcome it into their fields for that reason. This is the one flower that I told my kids they could pick at any time without asking. Picking obviously didn’t slow down the spread. Each flower head will produce many hundreds of seeds, all of which easily produce new plants.

Besides being an excellent seed producer, Oxeye Daisy is a perennial that can spread by the production of rhizomes. Once a plant is established, it proceeds to expand into the surrounding areas. The plant is easily pulled because of its shallow root system, but any rhizome pieces left in the soil quickly produce new plants.

This is going to be a tough plant to deal with. Spraying won’t work because too many other plants would be affected. Pulling, if you had the time and manpower for the job, would not work because you would always be leaving bits of rhizome to grow back. Mowing during the growing season would probably favor Oxeye Daisy, because it easily grows back from the basal stems. Goats would favor the Oxeye Daisy over most early growing plants and could reduce the number of plants over time. Maybe I’ll get a couple of goats and let them work on the areas of worst infestation. I guess I’ll have to find time in my schedule to try out a few control strategies on this newest invader.


  1. I hear you! Here, it's the Purple Loosestrife. Same story, different invasive species. ~karen

  2. Steve.. Now you have to think that is a beautiful sight. ;} I know what your saying though...the sometimes take over hay fields here if the fields are not maintained!!! Maybe you could become a goat farmer!! HA-HA!!

  3. Interesting post. I love the ox-eye daisy. It grows wild along our roadsides. I have tried to introduce it to the garden but the rabbits seem to have a taste for it. After reading your post, you have convinced me to leave this plant alone.

    Like KaHolly I have a problem with our native purple loosestrife....I love it but am forever pulling it because it will not stay in the areas i want it to be. Nature rules!!!

  4. They sell those up here in local nurseries. We could go in cahoots and make some big money buddy! :)

  5. What beautiful daisy pictures!!! :D

  6. Karen - That's one I shouldn't have to worry about on the dry barrens.

    grammie g - My daughter thinks goats would be a great idea. She says goat kids are the cutest animals ever.

    Cheryl - I wish my rabbits would eat some of it. The rabbits here seem to watch to see what my favorite plants are and then cut them off at night.

    Renee - We could probably get rich. Since I would be supplying the plants, it's only fair that we take shipping costs out of your half.

    Hi Alex.

  7. Regrettably, the taxonomists have changed its name to Leucanthemum vulgare.

  8. Ted - Those taxonomists are really busy people. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who settle on something and rarely change. In the early 1990's, I was helping to put together a county flora list and the preferred State of Ohio reference was Gleason and Cronquist 1991. I converted our county list and my personal list to G&C. The Keys and Illustrated Companion ran me about $200 and I decided to get my money's worth, so I continue to use that reference. I get a little more out-of-date each year. Somehow, I manage to live with it. Besides, Leucanthemum vulgare is not as much fun to say as Chrysanthemum leucanthemum.

  9. Shipping out of my half? I'm providing a place for you to get rid of them!

    I'd have to charge people a 'Barren Tax' with each plant I sell. It almost sounds official and everything. We have so many taxes up here noone would probably even notice! :)