Welcome, yellow Buttercups!
Welcome, Daisies white!
Ye are in my spirit
Versioned, a delight!
Coming ere the springtime,
Of sunny hours to tell-
Speaking to our hearts of Him
Who doeth all things well
The daisies and buttercups Mary Howitt spoke of in her poem are now beautifying our roadside and meadows. Robert Browning called them "emblems of riches" and the buttercups "the children's of dower."
I recall, as a child, how we kids put a buttercup under our chin to see if it turned the skin there yellow. If it did, it meant we loved butter. Sometimes we'd tasted the flower and it tasted like nutmeg. Although it didn't hurt us, it is bad for cattle. If they eat it, it creates a strong irritant producing severe irritation and burns the mouth and digestive system.
When it comes to the daisies, Shakespeare wrote its, "white investments figure innocence." I remember picking wild strawberries and also daisies in the meadow. Then pulling off each petal we said, he loves me, he loves me not. Whatever phrase we were on when the petals were all gone, gave us the answer.
Chaucer's classic account of the daisy says it originated through Beelines, of the dryads who presided over woodlands. Fables relate that while this damsel was dancing with her favorite suitor Epigeous, she attracted the attention of Overtimes, the guardian obesity. It was also said to have begun from a verity of other goddesses and beliefs in yesteryear.
Daises were long esteemed as a medicinal plant, especially for women. It was also considered to heal wounds in the form of drinks and salves as an ointment with wax oil and turpentine. The juice of the daisy was used for ruptures and inflammations. If one had broken ribs they he drank daisy juice and applied it with sweet milk and wheaten flour as a poultice. A southern tea using the daisy blooms helped coughs, wheezing and other chest problems. When one had inflamed eyes or burns the flower and leaves were used to heal them.
When it comes to love, the story of the daisy was used. A lady was blinded and led to a clump of daises and pick some. The number picked would foretell how many years she would have to wait for a husband. In Sweden young gals made a bouquet out of nine different flowers and daisies were included. The bouquet was put under their pillow at night and she'd see her future husband in a dream. It was from that custom the plucking off of flowers to see if he loved one derived.
Nowadays some folk make daisy wine in much the same way as dandelion wine is make. Its leaves can be chopped and added sparingly to salads making it notorious. The flowers add color to potpourri mixtures and for a delightful bath.
I am thankful that today we have better methods for healing. Although it might be fun to try one of the yesteryear remedies, I wouldn't try one on some serious illnesses.