What a fun little flower these are! Commonly known as a coneflower, the scientific name is derived from the Greek word for hedgehog, echinos, due to its prickly center. How fun is that?
Part of the daisy family it is also considered a type of herb and is used to treat common colds, earaches and is thought to boost the immune system. According to one ethnobotanist the cone flower, native to North America, is probably used as a remedy for more ailments than any other plant. Native Americans (specifically the Cheyenne, Choctaw and Kiowa) used it as a natural cough medicine and to treat sore throats by chewing on the root. The Dakotas would scrap the root and use it to treat snake bites while the Delaware tribe would actually use it to treat venereal disease. Skin conditions, infected wounds, and even toothaches were treated with parts of the echinacea plant.
Today it is most often used as a tea or taken in some other form of herbal supplement. With the advancement of modern medicine it has fallen out of favor with much of the medical community but has enjoyed a bit of a comeback within the last decade with the more natural remedy crowd.
It is a beautiful and dramatic addition to your garden and a big bonus is that bees and butterflies love them too. They also make for a lovely cut flower. They photograph beautifully and tomorrow I will share some “portraits” I enjoyed taking of mine 🙂
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.
This year in my gardening adventures I have discovered the daisy. Normally I look for flowers with bright colors and lush green leaves that fill up a space and draw the eye so I am not real sure how I stumbled upon them but I planted about a dozen little bunches of them in various flower beds.
They are actually considered a composite flower which means that the cheery yellow center (a disc floret) is a flower in itself apart from the white petals ( a ray floret) which is considered its own flower. Because the two combine so well as to seemingly be a single flower the daisy is oftentimes seen as a symbol for true love. They can also symbolize innocence and purity.
Because the white petals close up each night and reopen in the morning daisies were often referred to as the “day’s eye” in Old English and it is the origin of our phrase “fresh as a daisy.” Tradition has it that in the 1800’s the phrase “ups-a-daisy” was coined as a way to encourage children to hop up when they fell down because daisies are such prolific growers and are difficult to get rid of even after mowing.
Daisies are also edible with the leaves and petals being used in everything from salads to sandwiches. They’re also considered to have astringent properties and can be used for medicinal purposes. Wild daisies have been brewed in teas to treat coughs and bronchitis for hundreds of years.
What I have discovered is that these little unassuming flowers offer a steadfast quiet beauty. They’re not flashy. In my mind if they were a person they’d be the one that is self assured and goes about their business just being who they are and doing what they do simply because that is who they are and what they do.
I turned fifty this year. I am not sure what it actually feels like to be grown up beyond the somewhat sudden onset of odd aches and pains that remind me I have gotten older but I have decided I want to be a daisy in my old age. It endures with patience and without resentment and that seems to me to be a good thing to strive for. A sort of floral expression of meekness in the right biblical sense if I can be so fanciful about it.
The scientific name for the common daisy is bellis perennis which comes from the latin words for pretty and everlasting and calls to my mind the idea of of that gentle and quiet spirit that we’re told is beautiful in the sight of God. The kind of beauty that doesn’t fade because it really isn’t about the outside as much as it is the inside showing up in a way that displays contentment and settledness.
In all seriousness, albeit a whimsical way to think of it, this idea dovetailed with my pondering on the verses from Ephesians that I posted yesterday. Specifically verse 29 and how it relates to my speech imparting grace to the hearer. Oh, how I want my words to give grace more than proving my skillful sarcastic wit or disdain for what may very well be an inferior position.
If we are a people who live by the Word, by His words, then I think our speech is a garden of daisies with the composite blooms of life and healing. His words should shape our thinking. His words should shape our words so that we speak His words. Steadfast and quiet yet full of grace. Not big or flashy but patient, adorning our conversation and bringing relief from the sting of the world.
“Daisies infinite uplift in praise their little growing hand o’er every hill that under heaven expands.” ~ Ebenezer Elliott.