Meet the (Secretly Edible) Lawn Daisy

2014-04-02_14-40-51_635I can’t seem to find it listed in any of my 20 or so foraging or herb reference books, yet Lawn Daisy, Bella perennis,  the little white and yellow flowers with fuzzy round leaves in the photo above, is secretly both edible and good-tasting! Somehow, this prolific “weed” found on lawns and roadsides has gone unnoticed by the foraging community. It is our secret, then, that the flowers are sweet and slightly astringent, and the leaves have a bright tangy tart flavor. They make a great spontaneous snack for kids and adults, and for those who like to cook, they make an interesting garnish or addition to a salad, too.

Lawn daisies, aka English daisies, are native to Europe. Medicinally, they are astringent and anti-catarrhal, and some sources attribute many other properties to them as well. Sixteenth century herbalist John Gerard reportedly recommended lawn daisy for inflammation of mucus membranes, heavy menstruation, migraine, and to promote healing of bruises and swellings. Other sources list it as useful for healing mouth ulcers, too.

Lawn daisies look similar to the taller, larger, longer-stemmed, not-as-tasty but also common Oxeye Daisy, Chrysanthemum vulgare. Herbs in the Chrysanthemum genus contain compounds known as pyrethins, which are effective at paralyzing fleas, making an infusion spray useful for pet owners who will follow up with a flea comb. This is safe for both cats and dogs, according to the excellent book “Herbs for Pets” by Gregory Tilford and Mary Wulff. (Another anti-flea herb is mullein top, which contains rotenone).

Browse more plants in the Plant Galley here.
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Upcoming Classes:
Field Guide to Plant Spirits: A Metaphysical Materia Medica
2 pm to 4:30 pm on Saturday May. 10
New Renaissance Bookshop, 1338 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR
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 Herbs have so much to offer us, not just food and medicine but also as powerful energy healers and wise teachers! Each species has a different area of expertise. Some plant spirits help us cultivate self-acceptance within, while others teach compassion and healthy boundaries, heal the heart, protect us, or ignite our psychic talents. In this engaging and enlightening class, we will cover the metaphysical properties of 12 plant spirits, including flowers, trees and weeds, and go on a powerful guided meditation to work with them together! $25 at the door
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Herbal Medicine Making 101
2 pm to 5 pm on Saturday, May 17
The Herb Shoppe Pharmacy, 3912 N. Mississippi, Portland, OR
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In this fun, informative, and hands-on class, you’ll learn the basics of home medicine making so you can feel confident and comfortable making your own highly effective herbal infusions, decoctions, tinctures with various solvents, infused oils and salves. Everyone who attends gets to *take home* the medicine that we make in class to get your personal apothecary started, as well as a very thorough instructional handout. Includes all materials.
Space is limited and this class tends to sell out fast. $45. Advance registration required here.
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Private Hikes, Yard Assessments, & Urban Plant Walks
Available by appointment for individuals and groups at the location of your choosing. More info here. E-mail me at RebeccaELerner(at)gmail.com to inquire.

2 thoughts on “Meet the (Secretly Edible) Lawn Daisy

  1. I just saw these growing with dandelion on top of a tree stump just outside of battle ground. Tried to copy it here, but my cell is being difficult. Love the taste.

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