Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

English Daisy - Bellis perennis

Leaves, Flowers Soap Wounds, Sores, Rheumatism

General Hairy, 2-20cm tall.[IFBC-E-flora] Prostrate or spreading growth.[WeedsW]
Lifecycle Perennial.[IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers Heads solitary. White to rose colored. [HNW] Disk flowers yellow. [PCBC2004]
Fruits Achenes. Flattened.[IFBC-E-flora] 2-veined, soft-hairy.[PCBC2004]
Leaves "Basal leaves with short to long stalks".[IFBC-E-flora] "...obovate to orbicular, minutely toothed..." [HNW] Rounded at tip. All basal.[PCBC2004] Spoon-shaped leaves.[PSW] Nearly smooth or loosely hairy.[WeedsW] 2-4 inches long. [WildPNW]
Stem Flowering stems are leafless.[PCBC2004] Flower stalk to 8 inches long.[WildPNW]
Root Fibrous root.[IFBC-E-flora][WildPNW]
Habitat Dry lawns, roadsides and waste areas.[IFBC-E-flora] Meadows, disturbed areas.[WildPNW]
Range Common in Coastal B.C.; Introduced from Europe.[IFBC-E-flora] Widely distributed.[HNW] Pacific States.[PSW] Fully naturalised in New Zealand [NewZeaNatural]
Status Exotic.[E-flora][WildPNW][WeedsW][PSW]

Food Use

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Further Medicinal Use

"Daisies are a popular domestic remedy with a wide range of applications[7]. They are a traditional wound herb[238] and are also said to be especially useful in treating delicate and listless children[7]. Recent research (1994) has been looking at the possibility of using the plant in HIV therapy[238]. The herb is mildly anodyne, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, digestive, emollient, expectorant, laxative, ophthalmic, purgative and tonic[7, 9, 21]."[PFAF] Traditionally used for rheumatism and as an expectorant.[Avato&Tava,1995] "Expectorant, diarrhea and gastrointestinal complaints, disorders of the liver and kidneys. Externally, for wounds healing and skin diseases". [Pieroni EBDBalk]

Part Used: "The fresh or dried flowering heads are normally used[9]." [PFAF] the whole flowering plant. [PDR]


  • Anti-inflammatory[PDR][HMH Duke][Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Antipyretic (1; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Antispasmodic (f; EFS); [HMH Duke][Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Antitussive [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Antipyretic [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Astringent [PDR][HMH Duke]
  • Depurative (f; EFS); [HMH Duke]
  • Demulcent [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Digestive [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Discutient (f; EFS); [HMH Duke]
  • Diuretic (f; EFS); [HMH Duke][Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Emollient [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Expectorant (f; HHB; PH2); [HMH Duke][Lim EMNMP7] Possibly expectorant. [PDR]
  • Febrifuge.[PDR]
  • Laxative [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Hemostat (f; EFS); [HMH Duke]
  • Homeostatic [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Mucolytic (1; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Ophthalmic [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Pectoral (f; EFS); [HMH Duke]
  • Purgative [Lim EMNMP7 ]
  • Resolvent (f; EFS);[HMH Duke]
  • Tonic (f; EFS); [HMH Duke][Lim EMNMP7]
  • Vulnerary (f; EFS). [HMH Duke][Lim EMNMP7]



Selected Constituents of the Essential Oil from the leaves & flowers (representing a total % of the obtained fraction):

  • Polyacetylenes (18.27% leaves-20.73% flowers). [Avato&Tava,1995]
    • Methyl deca-4,6-diynoate (13.87% leaves and 15.04% flowers)
  • Monoterpenes (47% leaves and 62% flowers, respectively) [Avato&Tava,1995]
    • Beta-myrcene (15.05% leaves; 28.43% flowers) [Avato&Tava,1995]
    • geranyl acetate (11.99%leaves; 6.10% flowers) [Avato&Tava,1995]
    • Beta-phellandrene (1.30% leaves and 1.16% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
    • Cis-pinenehydrate (1.18% leaves and 2.25% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
    • Camphor (0.60% leaves and 0.71% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
    • Geraniol (1.51% leaves and 0.46% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
    • Neryl acetate (1.65% leaves and 7.31% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
  • Alcohols (16.59% leaves and 1.69% flowers) [Avato&Tava,1995]
    • cis-3-hexenol (15.08%) in leaves, flowers (0.43%). [Avato&Tava,1995]
  • Aldehydes (1.56% leaves and 1.81% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
  • Esters (1.01% leaves and 1.08% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
  • Sesquiterpenes (3.25% leaves and 1.71% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
  • Acids (2.34% leaves and 2.56% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]
  • Others (2% leaves and 2.15% flowers)[Avato&Tava,1995]


"The chemical investigation of the essential oils from the aerial organs of Bellis perennis L., the common daisy, showed that polyacetylenes..." "...represent one of the major chemical class, ranging from 18-21 % (9). The two main components of this fraction have been identified the new natural C10 polyacetylenes, methyl deca- 4,6-diynoate and the deca-4,6-diynoic acid (9)." [Avato,1997]

"Previous studies (11, 12) have shown that extracts from B. perennis have antifungal effects both in vivo and in vitro and the activity has been attributed to a saponin of the sapogenin polygalacic acid (12). Further investigations (21) have demonstrated that genuine ester saponins obtained from ethanolic extracts of B. perennis are inactive against the growth of a number of fungal pathogens. Our results suggest that B. perennis might instead have antimicrobial activity due to the presence of polyacetylenes." [Avato,1997]



"It prefers full sun to light shade and organically rich, fertile, consistently moist and well-drained soils.... The plant is intolerant of drought." [Lim EMNMP7]

"The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile. [PFAF]
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. [PFAF]

Succeeds in most well-drained soils in sun or semi-shade[188, 200]. The daisy is commonly found growing in many lawns, some varieties have been developed for the flower garden[1]. It is a good plant for the spring meadow[24]. The plants have a very long flowering season, they will even produce a few flowers in the middle of mild winters[K]."[PFAF]

Landscape Uses: Alpine garden, Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden. [PFAF]


Seed - "sow as soon as the seed is ripe in June. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late summer[200]. Division after flowering[200]. Very easy, it can be done at almost any time of the year, though spring and early summer are best[K]. The divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions."[PFAF]

Bellis Sp.

Perennial herb [annual]. Leaf: basal and proximal cauline, simple, petioled. Inflorescence: heads radiate, 1 on slender, ± naked peduncles; involucre hemispheric; phyllaries in 2 equal series; receptacle conic, epaleate. Ray flower: many; ray white to pink or purple. Disk flower: many; corolla yellow, tube very short, throat ± cylindric; anther tips acute; style tips flat, triangular. Fruit: compressed; pappus 0.
15 species: Europe, Mediterranean. (Latin: pretty) [Brouillet 2006 FNANM 20:22–23] [Jepson]

Local Species

Uses of Related Sp.

Bellis annua - Manzanilla; Flower heads contain essential oil, flavonoids and saponins. The infusion is used as a laxative. [Rai EthPlants]


Page last modified on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 10:01 PM