Field Guide


In the cemetery, daisies and lambs often indicate the graves of children. Because of the unassuming simplicity of the daisy, fifteenth-century artists began using the daisy in scenes of the Adoration to symbolize the innocence of the Christ child. Soon thereafter, wishful lovers started plucking the daisy's petals in the now-familiar refrain, "s/he loves me, s/he loves me not."

The daisy is also a symbol of the Virgin Mary: like Mary's love, it can grow almost anywhere. The name "daisy" comes from a corruption of the name the flower was called in England: the e'e of the daire, or day's eye. And, lest we forget, a popular term to describe the dead: "pushing up daisies".

Taken from Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography written and photographed by Douglas Keister, published by Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, 2004.