Dear Readers, the Asteraceae or daisy family is surprisingly diverse, and is one of the most important flower families for all those little unsung pollinator heroes, such as hoverflies and beetles. So, for this week’s quiz I wanted to see how easy they were to identify when we gathered a bunch of them together. I have avoided some of the most difficult flowers – when I was doing my biology degree at Birkbeck, we didn’t have to identify ‘yellow compositae’ (all those hawksbeards and hawkbits and hawkweeds) because they were too confusing, and because they often hybridised. Maybe when I retire I’ll make them a priority.
Personally, I have always been fond of daisies of all kinds – there is a daisy in flower pretty much every day of the year, and the early dandelions are a vital source of pollen for many insects that are emerging in the spring. Plus, I have a lovely friend called Daisy, and the song ‘Daisy, Daisy’ was a family favourite – Mum always sung it to me when I was sick as a child with a ‘bilious attack’. Who has ‘bilious attacks’ these days? Like ‘nerves’ and ‘hardening of the arteries’ such diseases seem to have been re-badged.
Oops, this was going to be a cheerful post, but I seem to have gotten waylaid. The song ‘Daisy, Daisy’ was about riding on a tandem bicycle, something that Mum and Dad did when they were young. They explored all over Essex on their ‘bicycle made for two’. I wonder whether the tandem will make a comeback?
So, here are fifteen ‘daisies’ for you to identify. Normal rules apply, i.e. please get your answers in by 5 p.m. UK time on Monday if you want to be marked, and if you don’t want to be influenced by speedy responders, write your answers down before you pop them in the comments. Have fun!
Which members of the daisy family are these? Choose from the list below. So, if you think plant 1 is Michaelmas daisy, your answer is 1)a)
a) Michaelmas daisy (Aster x salignus)
b) Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
c) Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
d) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
e) Fox-and-cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca)
f) Pineappleweed (Matricaria discoidea)
g) Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
h) Lesser burdock (Arctium minus)
i) Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense)
j) Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
k) Common knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
l) Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
m) Daisy (Bellis perennis)
n) Mexican fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus)
o) Canadian fleabane (Conyza canadensis)