Ox-eyed Daisy

Leucanthemum vulgare Lam.

Synonyms - Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.

Family: - Asteraceae.


Leucanthemum is from the Greek leukos meaning white and anthos meaning flower referring to the typical flower colour for this genus.

Vulgare is form the Latin vulgaris meaning common.

Ox-eyed daisy refers to the eye like appearance of the flower head.

Other names:

Dog Daisy

Margriet (S. Africa)

Marguerite daisy

Moon daisy (UK)

White daisy

Yellow daisy.


An unpleasant smelling, erect, perennial, almost hairless, rhizomatous herb about 500 mm tall with leafy rosettes below a few branches that carry white petalled, daisy type flowers with yellow centres





Forms a basal rosette with alternate stem leaves. Unpleasant odour when crushed.

Stipules -

Petiole - Long and slender on lower leaves.

Blade - Dark green, egg shaped, lobed or coarsely toothed, lower leaves to 150 mm long. Base tapered. Surface slightly hairy.

Stem leaves - Alternate. Upper leaves, oblong, to 75 mm long. Edges toothed or smooth and convex to parallel. Sessile and half clasp the stems.


Erect, finely grooved, densely hairy at the base, sparsely above, few branched. Up to 1000 mm tall but usually 300-600 mm tall.

Flower head:

Flower head occurs singly at ends of long stalks (peduncles). Head (involucre) hemispherical.


'Flowers' white with a yellow centre, 35-50 mm diameter.

Bracts - A few unequal rows. Lance to oblong shaped with broad, brownish translucent margins. Tips obtuse.

Receptacle - Nearly flat, no scales.

Florets - 20-40 white ray, female florets surrounding numerous yellow, bisexual, disc florets.

Ovary -

'Petals' - White.

Stamens -

Anthers -


Two types; Achenes for disc florets are conical, ribbed, 2-3 mm long. Achenes from ray florets are have a narrow border.


Dark brown, grey or black, 1-2 mm long, narrow and tapering at one end, ribbed. No pappus.


Extensive, creeping, woody rhizomes producing new aerial growth annually.

Key Characters:

Simple or toothed leaves, not deeply lobed. White daisy type flowers with yellow centres.


Life cycle:

Perennial. Seeds germinate in autumn, form a rosette of leaves and develop an extensive root system with creeping lateral roots a few centimetres underground in the first season. New aerial growth emerges from the roots each autumn and produces more vigorous rosettes and sends up flowering stems in late spring to summer. Seed is produced and the aerial growth dies off in late summer. Seed may remain dormant for 20 years. Seeds pass through animal alimentary tract without losing viability.



By seeds and creeping rhizomes.

Flowering times:

September to December in SA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Most seed is viable.

Some seed may lay dormant for 20 years.

Seed passes through stock without losing viability.

Vegetative Propagules:

Creeping rhizomes.



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

The initial spread was due mainly to intentional planting in gardens and subsequent escape from these areas.

Seed is small and dispersed by mud, water, agricultural produce, animals and machinery.

It produces large quantities of seed.

Root fragments may be moved by cultivation or road making equipment and these readily establish in new areas.

Grows vigorously on burnt areas.

In suitable areas it grows so densely that it smothers all other vegetation.

Origin and History:

Europe, Siberia, parts of Asia.

Probably introduced as an ornamental plant.

First recorded in SA in 1858 and naturalised by 1907. Naturalised in Victoria by 1905.



NSW, especially on the Northern Tablelands.

Victoria, in high rainfall areas (eg Gippsland, Otway ranges).

Tasmania, in high rainfall areas.

SA, in Mt Lofty Ranges)

WA, rarely or not naturalised.



Temperate regions with an annual rainfall greater than 750 mm.


Moist soils.

Often more abundant on poor soils.

Plant Associations:




Used in herbal medicine for coughs and asthma.

Used as a Chamomile substitute.


Weed of roadsides, pastures, turf and disturbed areas.

Not readily grazed by stock.

If eaten may impart a disagreeable taste to milk.

Carries yellow dwarf virus of potatoes.


Not recorded as toxic but may taint milk.


Noxious weed on Victoria.

Management and Control:

Shallow cultivation likely to spread roots. Deeper cultivation to 200 mm is more effective especially in summer, subsequent shallow cultivation will kill seedlings and regrowth from root pieces, and should be followed by establishment of a suitable perennial pasture. Due to long seed dormancy, cropping with cultivation should continue for 2-3 years to reduce the seed bank. Chemical control can be used for areas not suited to cultivation. Picloram, dicamba and amitrole T are effective in early flowering stage.


Eradication strategies:

Crop fro several years using cultivation and herbicides. Establish strongly competitive and preferably perennial pasture species.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Shasta Daisy (L. maximum)

Plants of similar appearance:



Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P107-108. Photo.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P878.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P156.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #743.2.

Parsons, W.T. and Cuthbertson, E.G. (1992). Noxious weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P290-291. Photos.


Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.