Oxeye daisy

Scientific name: Leucanthemum vulgare
  • Key characteristics
  • Biology
  • Impacts
  • Control
  • Further information

  • Single, large, daisy -like flower head at the top of each stem. Flower is about 6 cm in diameter with a yellow centre and 20 to 30 notched, white, petal-like florets
  • Leaves deep lobed, dark green and either slightly hairy or hairless. Basal     and lower stem leaves oval to spoon-shaped (about 15 cm long and 2 cm wide) and further up the stem leaves become smaller
  • Stems may be up to 1 m high and occasionally branched, slightly hairy towards the top and hairless at the bottom, with alternating leaves
  • Seeds dark brown, grey or black with pale ridges down the side and about 2.5 mm long
  • Oxeye daisy has an unpleasant odour when crushed.


  • Native to Europe
  • Most likely introduced to New Zealand and North America by accidental seed contamination
  • Introduced to other areas of the world as an ornamental plant, but escaped cultivation and became naturalised.

Life cycle and habitat

  • Perennial herb that can flower through most of the year, though mainly in spring and summer
  • Grows best in temperate areas on a wide range of soil types, and appears to favour poorer soils
  • Often conspicuous along roadsides and also found in waste places, grasslands, riverbeds and at the margins of forests.
  • Each flowerhead may produce 100 to 250 seeds and a large healthy plant can produce up to 26,000 seeds. Seeds may be viable within 10 days of the flower opening
  • Seed is usually dispersed near the adult plant
  • Seeds that do not germinate in spring may become dormant in the soil but remain viable in the soil for many years
  • Sensitive to treading, often appearing on fence-lines and beside tracks where animals don’t walk.


  • Oxeye daisy is often used as an ornamental due to its showy flowers
  • Leaves have been used as a salad vegetable
  • Parts of the plant were commonly used in medicine during the medieval period and up until the 19th century. It is still used by herbalists.


  • Oxeye daisy is most commonly found in waste places and especially along roadsides and in poor pastures
  • Large white flowers of this weed stand out during spring as it often grows on roadsides.

Impact on pasture

  • Oxeye daisy is generally avoided by cattle
  • Can invade pastures under the right conditions
  • Can host several species of gall-forming nematodes that will also feed on crops.

Grazing management

  • Sheep generally favour oxeye daisy so grazing by sheep will control the weed. Goats will also graze it
  • A grazing program with break feeding and the associated trampling is the best method of control. Subsequent grazing by sheep or goats will remove remaining plants.

Other methods

  • Mowing can be an effective control measure if carried out as soon as buds appear. However, this method can stimulate shoot production if not repeated during a growing season. When combined with herbicide application, mowing can improve chemical contact with rosettes
  • Grubbing can be used to control small populations of oxeye daisy. Plants can be dug up easily as the roots are shallow, but any remaining root matter may sprout
  • Minimising the amount of exposed bare soil in a pasture reduces the chances of oxeye daisy seeds germinating and establishing.

Chemical control

  • Oxeye daisy is hard to control in infested pastures because it is not susceptible to the selective herbicides normally used. It is relatively tolerant of MCPB and MCPA
  • Boom spraying with 2,4-D ester will set plants back but they will usually regrow. Addition of clopyralid will improve the effect of this herbicide but will damage clovers
  • In spring, thifensulfuron can control oxeye daisy but regrowth will still occur
  • Spot-treatments with clopyralid, metsulfuron and triclopyr/picloram can give adequate control of oxeye daisy but also kill clovers, so avoid clovers when spot-treating weeds.


Active ingredient When to apply Residual effect Grass damage Clover damage
clopyralid Jun – Aug Best in early spring when oxeye daisy is in the rosette stage Severe No Moderate – severe
flumetsulam Jun – Aug Slight No No


Consult your farm consultant, industry rep or the New Zealand Agrichemical Manual for more information about chemical control.


  • Clements DR, Cole DE, Darbyshire S, King J, McClay A 1978. The Biology of Canadian Weeds 128: Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 58: 343-362.
  • Popay I, Champion P, James T 2010. An illustrated guide to common weeds of New Zealand. New Zealand Plant Protection Society, Christchurch, New Zealand. 416 p.
  • Young S 2013. New Zealand Novachem agrichemical manual. Agrimedia Ltd., Christchurch, New Zealand. 767 p.