Fresh as a Daisy Meaning & Origin

When someone is described as being “as fresh as a daisy” we may picture a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, lively, alert, well-rested, energetic and enthusiastic individual.

But why would a daisy be fresh? What is the meaning behind this idiom?

Daisies are considered amongst the freshest and best-rested flowers because they sleep. Well, “sleep”. Come sunset, the daisy is famous for closing its petals as it “goes to sleep” and opening up again come morning. You can see this in action in the video below of African Daisies:

The daisy’s habit of getting a bit of shut-eye at night gave the flower its name, where “daisy” comes from the old English daeges eage, or “day’s eye” because it only “opened its eye” by day.

With the amount of shut-eye, no wonder that daisies are considered to be so fresh!

Why do daisies shut at night?

Scientists call the daisies tendency to close at night “nyctinastic movement”. For the curious, if you’re wondering why daisies shut at night, the reason is under debate, but theories indicate that it could be for one of the following possible reasons:

  • To preserve the pollinator-attractor chemicals for the daytime so that they won’t be lost during the night when minimal pollination occurs.
  • To protect the flower from nocturnal animals foraging for food at night
  • To protect the flower from the drop in night-time temperature
  • To retain moisture within the plant, although this theory is less likely because even waterlilies close at night and they are at no risk of drying out.

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3 Responses to Fresh as a Daisy Meaning & Origin

  1. Itai says:

    Pretty neat! I wonder how the daisies “know” that it’s night time, and how they close their petals (since they don’t have vision or musculatory systems)?

    • Lior says:

      Hi Itai : )

      Plants don’t have eyes but they have light receptors (photochromes) and instead of a musculatory system they have variable turgidity of cells to keep things rigid or flaccid. Instead of being based on a nervous system controlling all this, it’s all controlled through a cascade of biochemical processes.

      There’s more information about nyctinastic movement of plants in this article if you’re interested:

      Ueda et al. 2001. Molecular Approach to the Nyctinastic Movement of the Plant Controlled by a Biological Clock. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2001, 2, 156-164 – Found here –>


  2. isabelle walker says:

    I always thought it to be slightly insulting….the word ‘fresh’ meaning mad! ie ‘ daisy, daisy give me your answer do….I’m half crazy all for the love of you!’ It is maddening!

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