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Looking More Deeply into the Shasta Daisy

Posted by admin on Aug 15, 2009

© 2009 Patricia Meyer

Editors’ Note: The below was originally written as the final assignment for The Five Healing Dimensions of Plants, an online course taught by Vibration editor, Dr. Deborah Bier. The class is appropriate for students of all levels, from beginners to professionals, as each student works to his or her own abilities.

I have always loved and appreciated daisies of all kinds. Their simple fresh faces are the typical ‘flowers’ that children draw when they depict flowers and happiness in their art!  Perhaps because the daisy looks like an earthly version of the SUN – which brings light – they usually have yellow centers, and the ray petals are just like rays of light!  Happy children will often create a light-filled drawing, a house [usually signifying security of the Self] with windows, a chimney with smoke [people are living there, and a nurturing parent is preparing food] and windows with colored curtains – access to the garden views.  Mom, Dad and siblings may also typically be part of this picture in the garden, and then there are the flowers – most often DAISIES, sprinkled liberally all over the garden, or in a neat straight line!!

img_1010In 1999, a fellow garden lover, who was thinning hers, gave me several clumps of Shasta daisies.  I replanted them around the base of an orange tree, a position they seem to love, since they have afforded us generous and joyous displays annually. Surprisingly they continue blooming for much of the year, as even in January 2009, [midwinter] two healthy white heads were visible bobbing in the wind and rain. Last summer several even shot up to over 5′ – I am 5′2″ and we saw “eye to eye”!

Normally the flowers are on straight strong green stems, often 40″ tall, and face skyward as they reach towards sunlight. The perennial foliage is a rich deep green; the leaves oblong-shaped and incised, with long petioles (leafstalks). The flower heads can range from 3 to 4 or even 5 inches in diameter. Flowering is usually mid May here in N. California and often continues into August and even September, except as I mentioned, in our garden.  They are drought tolerant.  Small bugs and beetles like to feed on the blooms, and in particular the yellow discs, which can leave them looking a bit ragged. Deadheading supports further growth and flowering.  They appear to be deer proof – deer do not like to eat them – it may be the aroma, which is pungent and rather unpleasant.

The word, ‘daisy’ was originally “day’s eye”, which is an early metaphorical reference to the sun, because of the sun-like appearance of this flower, with its central yellow disk surrounded by petals fanned all around.

I recently learned details of the interesting origins of this plant, and how it is a hybrid and not a natural wildflower. In 1890 Luther Burbank developed the Shasta daisy in Northern California near Mount Shasta, and named it after Mt Shasta’s white snow.  His book: “How a Troublesome Weed Was Remade into a Beautiful Flower”’ describes its creation.
Burbank began by breeding the Ox-eye daisy of English descent [C Maximum] – often considered a weed in turf and fields – with an American Ox-eye. That hybrid was then crossed with a German daisy  [triple parentage], but the best of these, over 6 years, still lacked the crystal purity of whiteness he was seeking. He later obtained seed from an Asiatic daisy [Chrysanthemium nipponicum] he’d found from Japan, and the result was a pure white daisy, although not as appealing as the American Ox-eye.  Once his plants were in bloom, he crossed the pollen of the best of his hybrids with pollen from the Japanese cousins – and the SHASTA DAISY we know came into being!

Just looking at this daisy, one cannot help but focus on its yellow center.  On closer examination the disc is interestingly comprisimg_1004ed of a spiraling pattern of tiny florets, with the outer rim opening into tiny flowers – inviting insects to enter and pollinate. The disc is not flat, but curves as it spirals inwards. The ray petals on the circumference of the disc draw one’s vision to the center, and then one’s eye is pulled even more into the spiraling pattern within.  In this world of abundant distractions, focusing is an issue, and perhaps this demonstrates the Shasta daisies healing message. The spiral helps one integrate separate thoughts and ideas and allows us to move towards discovering still deeper levels.  Looking at my interests, this could not have been a more perfect flower for me to attune to and explore!!

I have always had numerous interests. At high school Biology and Botany vied with my artistic side, and my fascination with the ocean took me to [almost] deserted islands where I became fascinated with coral reefs, brilliantly colored fish and the wondrous world of amazing sea creatures.  Beach combing and snorkeling was my “thing!”  As a South African many holidays were spent in nature visiting game parks and watching animals, birds and wildlife.  As an artist [I have a BFA] I collected natural forms [plant pods, leaves, shells, bones] to explore and use in paintings, and to decorate my home.  I recall holding the twisted, dried stamen of an anthurium flower in one hand, and the very similarly shaped hard shell of a sea – worm tube in the other, wondering at their similarity of form. Something was needed to bring this all together for me, to help me integrate and make sense of these diverse interests.

At that stage I knew little of spirituality, but I was already drawn to the magic of energy medicine [homeopathy], and was introduced to flower essences around 1969.  Life circumstances carried me to the United States, where I needed to change direction towards a healing profession.  Already deeply in love with flowers as the path to discovering my Self first, and then to helping others find themselves, I embarked on consciousness studies that have led me to where I am now.
The California FES Repertory describes SHASTA DAISY as bringing one “mandalic or holistic consciousness, synthesizing ideas into a living wholeness.” It “imparts insight

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into the broader meanings and larger patterns of mental and emotional experience”.  It continues: “it can be very helpful for those involved in writing, teaching, research, or other intellectual professions.”  The special work I do involves all that, as well as finding deeper meanings from the various symptoms experienced by my clients.  The signature of this flower is about bringing parts into focus, followed by integration of the various parts. Since this has been an important theme of my life’s journey, I understand why they flourish in my garden, and why I am so drawn to them.

I found the spiral within the yellow daisy disc itself intriguing.  The spiral in the Shasta Daisy represents the Golden Mean.  An understanding of the Golden Mean spiral can serve as a model for how Flower Essences work. I will pursue this in a separate article sometime in the future.

Looking at who I am at this stage of my life [my sixth decade], this could not have been a more perfect flower for my continued growth!!

Note: Contemporary nomenclature now lists Shasta daisy, a former member of the Genus Chrysanthemum, as Leucanthemum [meaning white flower] ‘Becky’ Superbum group.  It is a member of the Asteraceae Family.  Species: x superbum – meaning hybrid, meaning superb.  The United States Perennial Plant Association (PPA) selected Shasta daisy ‘Becky’ as the Perennial Plant of the Year 2003.  They are well known as being easy to grow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: PATRICIA E. MEYER is a certified Flower/Gem Essence consultant and teacher who has been working with essences for over 35 years. Hailing from Johannesburg, Patricia received her training from two of South Africa’s most renowned homeopathic doctors. She subsequently studied with flower essence pioneers from around the world and is now considered to be one of the foremost practitioners in the United States. A member of the Flower Essence Society and writer/publisher of “The Essential Flower” newsletter for several years, Patricia currently practices in San Mateo, California, and lectures and conducts workshops throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She has lectured in Johannesburg and Cape Town, at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, South Africa and in Mexico City at an International Flower Essence Symposium. She has a Fine Arts degree, and has exhibited paintings in both South Africa and California. The watercolors on the site are hers. Patricia is also a Reiki Master and Certified Hypnotherapist. She can be reached by email at essences@patsgarden.com; her website is at http://www.patsgarden.com. Patricia is a frequent contributor to Vibration Magazine.

PHOTO CREDIT: © 2009 Patricia E. Meyer

4 Comments »

Anne Ryan:

I love this article. The insights have the ring of authenticity. Will be looking more deeply into shasta daisy( which I have always loved.) Thank you

August 16th, 2009 | 4:26 am

Lovely Article :)

August 16th, 2009 | 1:47 pm
Carmen:

Auch für mich war es ein Genuß diesen Artikel über das von mir geliebte Gänseblümchen zu lesen. Vielen Dank
Carmen

August 17th, 2009 | 10:38 pm

Thank you for this wonderful article! I looked into it because my homeopath has recommended me to take this as a homeopathic remedy! I got warm fuzzies reading it :) Thanks!

September 29th, 2009 | 5:15 am