02 May 2014
Sweet Ox-eye Daisy
After the dormant months of winter, springtime is so sweet—made even sweeter by the appearance of that delightful lady, the oxeye daisy. I feel elated this time of year when I catch sight of her curvy, dark green leaves.
It was her flower — a beautiful, large yellow center surrounded by spreading white petals — that first drew me to her. Then I came to recognize the unique shape of her leaves. Oxeye daisy has toothed leaves like dandelion, but each of the little lobes are distinctly rounded and spoon-shaped.
When I tasted those leaves, I was surprised by the sweetness and excited to discover such a delectable botanical delicacy right outside my door. The kids in my community at Earthaven now fondly call oxeye daisy “nature’s candy”, and I agree. I love to snack on the leaves when I come across her in the garden, and they add a unique note to wild salad greens all through the warm seasons. I even like to add the leaves to my deviled eggs.
Oxeye daisy is sweetest just before and as she begins to flower and, as I came to know her better, I could identify the distinct shape of her leaves earlier and earlier each year. This means that I can enjoy more of her deliciousness in the early spring. It’s important to become very familiar with her if you plan to harvest before the flowers appear, however; the poisonous water hemlock also has deeply divided leaves and you don’t want to make a mistake. When in doubt, always wait for the flowers to bloom to confirm identification.
In her healing gifts, her lovely flowers and in her sweet flavor, the oxeye daisy is a very welcome taste of spring!