On my way to the beach yesterday for a leisurely swim (I know!) I came across lots of lovely patches of the oxeye daisy, our largest native member of the daisy family in the UK. It is a perennial herb with large flowers and also has the vernacular names common daisy, dog daisy, moon daisy and margarite.
It is fairly common in meadows and roadside verges but always in conditions of moderate to low fertility, and where it occurs in abundance it transforms the sight of meadows and grassy banks in summer with carpets of white and gold.
Because the oxeye daisy is limited in its capacity for vegetative spread it relies heavily on seed regeneration in open swards where other potentially dominant species are restricted by low soil fertility. This is why it is a common plant of some of our traditional hay meadows, as well as being abundant on waste ground, railway embankments and roadside verges and, in this case, sea cliffs.
The open flower heads attract a large range of pollinating insects, particularly bees, butterflies and hoverflies.
In the past, an extract from the plant was used as a herbal remedy to cure diseases of the liver and the chest.