Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Originally from Europe and parts of Asia, Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is perennial shallow rooted erect multi-stemmed herb to 1 metre tall, flowers with yellow centre and white outer petals (florets). 
  • Forms dense stands excluding most or all other grasses and forbs and can be a serious invader of both pasture and native vegetation.
  • It produces copious quantities of seed – up to 26 000 seeds per plant which remain viable even after passing through stock.
  • It is naturalised in the south-eastern states of Australia.
  • Generally avoided by stock and native animals, but if eaten by cattle, taints the milk of cows that consume it.
  • It may be spread both by seed and by root fragmentation.
  • Difficult to control, requiring an integrated approach using a combination of herbicides, cultivation and physical and mechanical methods.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is an erect perennial herb growing to 1 m high with a creeping underground rootstock that can produce new plants. The first rosette leaves produced are arranged in a basal rosette. Leaves are 20–80 mm long sometimes bigger, 10–20 mm wide sometimes bigger, oblanceolate (lance shaped, about 4 times as long as broad, broadest in the upper half, tapering to a narrow base), obovate (egg-shaped attached at the thinner end) to spathulate (spoon-shaped, broad at the tip and narrowed towards the base) in outline, margins irregularly toothed to shallowly 1- or 2-pinnatifid (divided). Rosette leaves with a stalk, margins irregularly toothed to shallowly 1- or 2-pinnatifid, pubescent (downy; covered with short, soft, erect hairs) with simple and glandular hairs, these leaves soon wither when the main stem is produced. Stem leaves are similar in shape to rosette leaves but normally smaller and are shallowly lobed to toothed, to almost entire on upper leaves. Leaves near the base are hairy, but hairless above. The rosette and lower stem leaves are long stalked, and upper leaves steam clasping.

The flower-heads are long stalked, in groups of one to three at the ends of the stems. They are 3–5 cm in diameter, with a ring of 15–30 white ray florets surrounding the closely packed central yellow florets.

The fruits or 'seeds' (cypselas) are dark brown, grey or black with pale ribs, 1.5–2.5 mm long, and lack an apical tuft of hairs (Jeanes 1999; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). Seeds varying from flower edge to centre. Seeds around the edge of the flower head sometimes compressed, with about 10-ribs with extended lateral ribs, pappus (a tuft of hairs on top of the seed) an irregular crown. Seeds in the middle of the flower 10-ribbed, lacking a pappus.

For further information and assistance with the identification of Ox-eye Daisy, contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour

Yellow and White

Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Ox-eye Daisy occurs most commonly in cool temperate zones, usually on water retentive soils. It is virtually confined to areas with annual rainfall in excess of 750 mm, in disturbed areas such as roadsides, cleared land and overgrazed pastures, Eucalypt woodlands including snowgum woodlands and open stringy bark, sub-alpine grasslands, wetlands, areas that have been burnt. (DPI NSW 2019; Jeanes 1999; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

Are there similar species?

The related Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), also grown as a garden ornamental and naturalised in southern Australia, differs from Ox-eye Daisy in having larger (5-8 mm sometimes to 12mm diameter), solitary flower-heads and larger leaves that are regularly finely toothed (Jeanes 1999).

Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) has toothed or lobed leaves and moderately sized flower-heads (20-60 mm across).

Similar to Stinking Mayweed (Anthemis cotula), which has smaller flowers and finely divided leaves.

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) spreads quickly and forms dense stands in agricultural areas and in native vegetation. It grows so densely that most other vegetation is excluded, and consequently it may seriously devalue pasture and threaten the integrity of native vegetation.  can increase the risk of soil erosion when the above ground plant parts die off over summer, leaving large areas of bare ground (DPI NSW 2019).

Agriculture: Can invade pastures and replace desirable pasture species reducing carrying capacity. Although not poisonous to stock,  is unpalatable to livestock, and imparts a disagreeable taste to milk if eaten by cattle. Plants produce copious seed (1 300-26 000 per plant) which may remain dormant in the soil for as long as 20 years or more. In the United States of America, Ox-eye Daisy hosts viruses that may affect crop species, but it is not known if, or to what extent, this might occur in Australia (Howarth & Williams 1968; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

Native ecosystems: Ox-eye Daisy invades lowland grassland and grassy woodlands, damp sclerophyll forests, riparian vegetation, alpine and sub-alpine vegetation (Carr et al. 1992) and out-competes native plants including some endangered species DPI NSW (2019). Dense infestations  are capable of displacing native plants and it is not readily grazed by native animals, no doubt reducing resources (food sources) available for native fauna.

Urban areas: Invades roadside vegetation and nature parks.

How does it spread?

Unlike many daisies, the small seed of Ox-eye Daisy is not adapted for wind dispersal, but it is readily incorporated into mud or soil and then transported by animals and vehicles. Some vegetative spread also occurs when pieces of cut root are carried by earth moving equipment (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). If consumed and excreted by cattle, up to 60% of seed retains viability (Howarth & Williams 1968).

What is its history in Australia?

Ox-eye Daisy was mostly likely introduced to Australia as a garden ornamental plant. The earliest record of it being cultivated in Australia is from the Adelaide Botanic Gardens in 1858. By the late 1800s it was naturalised in Victoria and South Australia and Tasmania, and it is now common in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales (Parsons & Cuthbertson 1992; AVH 2021).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) can be hard to manage because it spreads so easily. Plants can be manages and controlled using herbicides and by physical and mechanical removal, cultivation and pasture management.  Using an integrated approach ( the use of different control options) will yield the best overall result. As plants produces many (each plant can produce up to 26,000 seeds) long-lived seeds, follow up will be critical. Return to control areas regularly to check progress and re-treat when needed.

Chemical control: A variety of chemical controls can be used in areas not suited to cultivation, but herbicides may damage non-target species (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).  Spraying large infestations is most effective when plants are in the early flowering stage. High rates of herbicide are needed to manage ox-eye daisy therefore early action to prevent large infestations establishing is best DPI NSW (2019). See DiTomaso &. Kyser et al. (2013). DPI NSW (2019) for some herbicide treatment that proved effective. Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au 

Non-chemical control: Physical control:  Small population and outliers can be hand pulled or removed with hand tools. Remove roots from at least 10 cm below ground to avoid regrowth of the plant. This is easiest when the soil is damp and loose. Follow-up treatment will be required if seeds have been shed.

Mechanical control:  Because of its shallow root system, Ox-eye Daisy is easily killed by intensive cultivation. Deep cultivation (to 20 cm) can be effective, especially in summer. Additionally, shallower cultivation can kill seedlings and plants that have regrown from root fragments. Shallow cultivation on its own can spread the plant via root fragments. In pasture, mowing as soon as the first flowers open can prevent seed production. However, mowing may also stimulate shoot production and subsequent flowering in areas with adequate growing seasons (DPI NSW 2019).

Competition and management: Because seeds germinate readily on bare soil, keeping bare soil to a minimum is valuable in reducing seedling recruitment (Olson & Wallander 1999). Cultivation can be used as part of an integrated control program and followed up with the establishment of competitive plants like perennial pasture species. Repeat efforts and follow-up  will be needed to manage any seed stored in the soil.

Biological control: one options for bio-control has been investigated by CSIRO, the rhizome-feeding moth Dichrorampha aearata  and an application to release it in Australia is currently being prepared. A second promising candidate bio-control agent for ox-eye daisy is under investigation, the root-feeding weevil Cyphocleonus trisulcatus. See CSIRO (2020) for details.

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Seeds germinate in autumn and plants consolidate and grow in the first year, but do not generally flower until the spring to early summer (rarely to March) of the following year. Seed is produced in summer to autumn, after which the aerial stems die back (Jeanes 1999; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). Seeds can remain viable for long periods, but they normally germinate the year they are shed or the following spring. Each plant can produce up to 26,000 seeds, of which, over 80% can live for at least 6 years in the soil (DPI NSW 2019). Studies indicate 90-95% germination occurs at a temperature of 20°C. Light and chilling appears to have no effect on germination rates and there is no dormancy requirement for germination (Howarth & Williams 1968). DiTomaso  & Kyser et al. (2013) reports that seeds can survive ingestion by animals and can remain viable for 38 years or more under field conditions in the USA .

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

Ox-eye Daisy occurs from the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, along slopes of the Dividing Range into the Australian Capital Territory, and through southern Victoria, mainly on and south of the Dividing Range.

In South Australia it occurs in the Adelaide Hills in low numbers.

In Tasmania it occurs widely in cultivated areas, including King Island (Jeanes 1999; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001; AVH 2008; Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

It is reported as occurring in Western Australia, but specimen records from Australia's Virtual Herbarium and the Western Australian Herbarium do not support this (Western Australian Herbarium 1998; AVH 2021).

Not yet recorded from Queensland and the Northern Territory (AVH 2021)..

Where does it originate?

Ox-eye Daisy is native to Europe and parts of Asia (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Leucanthemum vulgare

Other scientific names (synonyms)?

Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.

Does it have other known common name(s)?

Ox-eyed Daisy

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