Among Minecraft’s many flowers, the Oxeye Daisy is a little bit unusual. Beaming out across the plains, its white petals gleaming in the sunlight, it’s a beacon of hope against the many perils that can befall an explorer.
Oxeye Daisies were added to the game during the Great Flowering of Minecraft in patch 1.7.2. This update, released in October 2013, included a whole heap of new flowers – from the azure bluet to the peony. You’ll find Oxeyes in Plains, Sunflower Plains and Flower Forest biomes. Occasionally, you’ll also find them in woodland mansions, where the former residents perhaps appreciated their beauty and purity.
The Oxeye Daisy was added in patch 1.7.2, but it was in patch 1.8 that it gained a superpower which sets it apart from other flowers. That superpower is the ability to create flower patterns on banners, which you can only do by combining an Oxeye in a crafting grid with a coloured dye and an existing banner.
Your other crafting option with the Oxeye Daisy is to grind it down into light grey dye. Grinding daisies down into dye feels like a waste to me, though. It’s far nicer to gather them and plant them in a garden, or put them in pots in a house, where they can charm you day and night.
You might be wondering where the whole “oxeye” thing comes from. It’s because real-world Oxeye Daisies supposedly look like the eye of an ox, though personally, I can’t see the resemblance. The ox thing is only a few centuries old, though – before the 16th century, they were more commonly called Moon Daisies or Dog Daisies (again, not seeing the resemblance). In Austria and Germany, they were once hung inside the house in the belief that they repel lightning. They do not.
Today the Oxeye Daisy is very common all over the world, but it’s only native to Europe and Asia. It blooms from spring to autumn, and is a reliable sign that summer is approaching. However, it can also be an invasive species – it’s regarded as a weed in Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand, and it can spread viral diseases affecting crops.
My favourite Oxeye fact, though, is that it’s edible. They’re eaten in salads in parts of Italy, and the flowers can be battered, pickled, or turned into sweet or savoury snacks. So next time you’re standing in a field of Oxeyes, maybe take a few home for dinner! Don’t cook with the actual eye of an ox, though. That would be gross.