More than 20,000 species belong to the daisy (Asteraceae) plant family. In September 2010, the New York Times named the Asteraceae one of the world’s largest plant families. Shrubs, perennials and annuals belong to this family and germinate on every continent except Antarctica. Some weed, garden flower and edible varieties of this family make homes in the loamy soils of Maryland such as the musk thistle, common tansy and meadow salsify.
Chrysopsis mariana is among several flowering daisy plants in Maryland. This perennial bears the name of the Maryland doctor who introduced the plant to England in 1742. The plant, commonly known as the Maryland golden star, has a distribution range across 19 states including Maryland and the District of Columbia. The flowers of this autumn bloomer have yellow, well-formed petals around a yellow disk. Loose, silky, deciduous hairs cover the golden aster’s spoon-shaped leaves and soft stem.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is another daisy plant in Maryland that first appears in the spring. Dandelion forms a bright-yellow, flower with long, almond-shaped leaves in the summer before transforming into a feathery, grayish-white globe in the autumn. The tap-root and perennial nature of the dandelion make the plant a common visitor in closely-manicured lawns across Maryland. Try cutting or pulling dandelion out of your garden beds and find a milky goo on your fingers; the plant’s leaves, stem and taproot bleed an opalescent sap when cut.
Hairy Galinsoga (Galinsoga quadriradiata cav) is a summer annual of the Asteraceae family. Hairy galinsoga lives up to its name — with a coarse fuzz covers its vertical stem, multiple branches and dark-green, ovate leaves. This plant also produces small flower heads each crowned with three white, triangular petals. This highly-competitive weed typically invades agricultural lands and distributed areas but is capable of germinating in any place associated with human development. The Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States website places hairy galinsoga among the list of invasive plants in Maryland.