A range of flowers in Colins Paddock

Map of the Down

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Wildflowers and other flowering plants

Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the many flowers and shrubs to be found growing at Magog Down. Most of these articles include lovely descriptions and history about the plants, written for us over the years by plant pathologist David Yarham. Some articles have been updated recently with new photos of the plants thriving thanks to our Rangers' careful management.

We welcome visitors' photos to help enrich our website, so if you have any you'd like to submit, do send them along to photos 'at' magogtrust.org.uk. Perhaps you've spotted a wildflower that is not yet featured here?

Flowers and Shrubs at Magog Down prev  :  next

Ox-eye Daisy - Chrysanthemum leucanthemum

The Ox-eye Daisy is also known as Dog Daisy, Moon Daisy or Marguerite. In 2019 it was a particularly good year for this plant, which covered the Feoffee fields in a sea of white, gently waving in the breeze.

ox_eyes_on_feoffee_terry_childerley_650Photo by Terry Childerley, July 2019

oxeye_dairy_250David Yarham wrote about oxeye_daisy_315this plant:

Like so many of the more conspicuous plants of Magog Down, ox-eye daisies are members of the dandelion family (Compositae). Their handsome flowers, sometimes more than two inches across, are held high on stems up to two feet tall which spring from rosettes of leaves close to the ground. The scientific name, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, translates from the Greek as 'Golden-flower white flower' and it is the contrast between the golden disc florets and the white ray florets which makes the plant so attractive.

So handsome is the plant that the old Norsemen associated it with Baldur the Beautiful, giving it the name of 'Baldur's brow'. In Christian times it, like many other midsummer flowers became linked with St. John the Baptist (feast day 24th June) after whom it is named in many European languages. In England, however, it seems more frequently to have been linked with St. Mary Magdalen (hence the name 'maudlin-wort' by which it was known to the herbalist Gerard). This may have been partly due to that saint's feast day also occurring in midsummer (22nd June) and partly to the supposed efficacy of the plant in treating 'women's complaints'. Other medical uses of the plant have included the application of its flowers or bruised leaves to reduce swellings, its infusion to make a reputedly excellent drink (when sweetened with honey) to relieve chronic coughs and bronchial catarrhs, its use as a decoction in ale to cure jaundice, and (my favourite) its use as a decoction to cure "all Diseases that are occasion'd by drinking cold beer when the body is hot"!

Ox-eye daisies are found throughout Europe and into Russian Asia. It is most frequently met with in rough pastures or on roadside verges but in the past it was considered an important weed of arable land. Too acrid to be palatable to cows, it is nevertheless eaten by horses and its seeds (200 of which can be produced by a single flower) can be spread in horse dung. In the days of horse husbandry it was thus easily spread from pasture land to arable fields.

David Yarham
May 1996

See also...

Report of the visit from Cambridge Natural History Society in August 2017

News about a visit by the local branch of Butterfly Conservation charity taking place in August 2016

News about the very special area of Colin's Bank, published in February 2015

Pasque Flower

One of our Friends sent us this beautiful picture of some Pasque Flowers taken in amongst the Cowslips in May 2016.pasqueflower_jb_may2016_crop_453

Photo by Jill Butler