Dægeseage

It never ceases to amaze me how much our earliest ancestors were in tune with nature. Or perhaps it’s should be a question of how much modern man is so out of touch. Who is awake at dawn nowadays to notice the humble daisy with its white petals closed tight cupping the cluster of tiny yellow florets. As the day breaks the petals respond to the light and open up. At dusk, they close again. Our Old English ancestors must have observed this awakening of the compound eye during the day, appearing to sleep at night for they named the flower “dægeseage” literally meaning “day’s eye” from which we get our common name daisy, for the commonest of flowers. Hardly a lawn, field or meadow is without some daisies. Its use as a poultice for wounds was well known in Roman times and perhaps it is for this medicinal use that the daisy became a valued addition in the apothecary’s chest of herbs and needed a name. But that begs the question of how did ancient man discover this astringent property of the daisy.
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