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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