Oxeye Daisy (Chrysantheum leucanthemum L.)
A member of the sunflower family, Oxeye daisy is an erect perennial plant with white ray and yellow disk flowers which bloom from June through August. This seemingly “innocent” little daisy has escaped gardens and is quickly taking over the intermountain west. Oxeye daisy was introduced from Eurasia for its vigor (one plant can produce anywhere from 1,300 to 26,000 seeds), it spread rapidly in mountain towns such as Eldora. It prefers roadsides, meadows, and disturbed areas. So, next time you take a leisurely drive through the mountains, look closely at those pretty daisies, they just might be an invader silently destroying our native ecosystems.
A close relative, Shasta daisy (Chrysantheum maximum), is also an introduced plant that may be aggressive under certain conditions but is preferable to Oxeye daisy. Alternatives to planting Oxeye daisy include native daisies (Erigeron spp), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata).