By the time April arrives, spring is in full bloom in most parts of the country. The birthday flower for April is the cheerful, colorful daisy. Daisies symbolize childhood innocence, simplicity and joy, which makes them a wonderful choice to give in a spring bouquet or to grow in your garden.
Daises are close cousins to sunflowers and the three most popular varieties are the Shasta daisy, African daisy and gerbera daisy. Shastas have snowy white petals with bright yellow centers and make great cut flowers. African daisies grow closer to the ground and have white, orange, yellow or apricot flowers.
Gerbera daisies (or gerberas) are the most popular daisies and their large blooms can be found in a rainbow of bright colors, including pink, white, yellow, orange, cream, red and violet. The center of the flower can be almost any color and often a single flower will have petals of many different colors.
Daisies in History
The gerbera daisy (gerbera jamesonii ) was discovered in 1884 near Barberton, South Africa, by Scotsman Robert Jameson. Breeding programs that began in England in 1890 perfected the flower's quality and colors, making them a favorite among both gardeners and givers of bouquets. The gerbera is still the fifth most popular flower in the world behind the rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip.
It is believed that the name "daisy" is a variation of "day's eye" because the whole flower head closes up at night and opens up again in the morning light.
Colors and Symbolism
There are many meanings assigned to the gentle daisy—from innocence, simplicity and joy to happiness, good luck and new beginnings. In Victorian times, daisies stood for loyalty and trust. There is also a story in Roman mythology of a nymph named Belides who transformed herself into a daisy to escape unwanted attention from one of the gods. This story gives daisies the added meanings of modesty and innocence.
Fun Facts about Daisies
- Daisies are often depicted in meadows ("flowery meads") in medieval paintings.
- Daisies are believed to be more than 4,000 years old.
- Hairpins decorated with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on the Island of Crete.
- Egyptian ceramics decorated with daisies date back to ancient times.
- Some people believed that daisies kept away lightening, which is why they were often grown indoors.
- Daisies are also known in England as "bruisewort" because their crushed leaves can sooth bruised or chapped skin.
- Daisy leaves are edible and made a delicious addition to salads.
April showers might bring May flowers, but happily for everyone born in April, they also bring us the delightful daisy.