Marguerite/Ox-eye daisy

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Code: w7
Latin name: Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Synonym: Leucanthemum vulgare)
Source material: Pollen
Common names: Marguerite, Ox-eye daisy

Allergen Exposure

There are about 200 species of daisy worldwide. The ox-eye daisy originated in Europe and northern Asia, and is now naturalised as a weed in North America, India, Japan, Australia and other parts of the world. It may be grown for its beautiful flowers, but it is also a plague on pastures and crop fields across Europe.

The ox-eye daisy is a short-lived, rhizomatous perennial, growing erect, 0.6m to 1m in height. The leaves are dark and deeply lobed. The lower leaves are spoon-shaped and stalked; the upper are narrower and stalkless, or clasping the stem.

The composite flowers are borne at the ends of stems and consist of a central, depressed, yellow disk, 10 to 20mm wide, surrounded by petal-like, white, ray flowers, 1 to 2cm long. The ox-eye daisy flowers from June to August. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. The plant is self-fertilising. It also reproduces vegetatively, with spreading rootstalks.

A vigorous daisy can produce 26 000 seeds, while even smaller specimens produce 1 300 to 4 000. Tests have shown that 82% of buried seeds remained viable after six years, and 1% were still viable after 39 years.

The flowers have escaped cultivation and now crowd out other plants on many rangelands. Other common sites are meadows and roadsides.

The ox-eye daisy’s leaves and flowers are edible. Tea is made from the plant, and it is also used as a herbal medication.

The ox-eye daisy and other Chrysanthemum plants contain sesquiterpene lactone, a strong inducer of allergic contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis associated with photosensitivity. (1)

Allergen Exposure

No allergens from the pollen of this plant have yet been characterised. Although sesquiterpene lactones are allergens present in the plant and responsible for contact dermatitis, these allergens have not been isolated from the pollen.

Potential Cross-Reactivity

Extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected, as well as to a great degree among members of the family Asteraceae (Compositae). (2) This extensive cross-sensitisation is seen with pollen and with other constituents of several members of the Asteraceae, e.g. Matricaria, Chrysanthemum, Solidago, feverfew, tansy and chamomile. (3, 4, 5, 6)

A study reported clinical cross-reactivity between Artemisia vulgaris and Matricaria chamomilla, suggesting the possibility that Artemisia vulgaris would be cross-reactive with other Asteraceae (Ambrosia, Chrysanthemum, Matricaria, Solidago), as cross-reactivity within the family is extensive. (7)

Clinical Experience

IgE-mediated reactions

Plants that are insect-pollinated are often thought not to cause allergic symptoms usually associated with pollinosis. However this is not the case with many insect-pollinated plants, in particular ox-eye daisy and Chrysanthemum, which have been shown to result in pollinosis – e.g. in Chrysanthemum growers. (8)

Ox-eye daisy pollen induces asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and urticaria, particularly as occupational allergies in individuals working with flowers. (5) A study from Turkey describes IgE sensitisation and inhalant allergies from ox-eye pollen. (9) A recent study (evaluating atmospheric pollen and its role in allergic rhinitis in Turkey) was conducted on 130 patients with allergic rhinitis, in three different sites in Eskisehir. All patients were sensitised to grass. Of the study group, 7 (5.4%) were skin-prick test-positive for C. leucanthemum, and 7 (5.4%) for the closely-related C. koreanum. (10)

In a Korean study of 133 patients with allergic symptoms evaluated using 3 different kits for detection of allergen serum-specific IgE, 1.5% to 13.5% were sensitised to ox-eye daisy, depending on the test used. (11) The same department evaluated the clinical usefulness of two other allergen detection assays using serum from 180 allergic individuals, reporting that specific IgE to ox-eye daisy was detected in 14 of 180 serum samples in one assay, and none in the other. (12)

Other reactions

Pollen from the Chrysanthemum genus of plants has been shown to result in airborne contact dermatitis. (13, 14)

Ox-eye daisy and other members of this family (e.g. chrysanthemum) are very common and important causes for both occupational and non-occupational contact dermatitis, as a result of physical contact with the plant. (3, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) Compositae-sensitive patients may present a localised dermatitis; and sensitisation may occur in early childhood, although this is uncommon. (20)

Non-immunologic contact urticaria has also been described. (21)

Triforine, a pesticide frequently used in Chrysanthemum nurseries, has been shown to cause delayed-type allergenicity in Chrysanthemum growers. Triforine also shows cross-reactivity with Dichlorvos. (22)

Compiled by Dr Harris Steinman,


  1. Kuno Y, Kawabe Y, Sakakibara S. Allergic contact dermatitis associated with photosensitivity, from alantolactone in a chrysanthemum farmer. Contact Dermatitis 1999;40(4):224-5.
  2. Yman L. Botanical relations and immunological cross-reactions in pollen allergy. 2nd ed. Pharmacia Diagnostics AB. Uppsala, Sweden. 1982: ISBN 91-970475-09.
  3. Hausen BM. The sensitizing capacity of Compositae plants. III. Test results and cross-reactions in Compositae-sensitive patients. Dermatologica 1979;159(1):1-11.
  4. Paulsen E, Andersen KE, Hausen BM. Sensitization and cross-reaction patterns in Danish Compositae-allergic patients. Contact Dermatitis 2001;45(4):197-204.
  5. De Jong NW, Vermeulen AM, Gerth van Wijk R, de Groot H. Occupational allergy caused by flowers. Allergy 1998;53(2):204-9.
  6. Aberer W, Jarisch R. Chrysanthemum allergy. [German] Wien Klin Wochenschr 1987;99(13):466-8.
  7. De la Torre Morin F, Sanchez Machin I, Garcia Robaina JC, Fernandez-Caldas E, Sanchez Trivino M. Clinical cross-reactivity between Artemisia vulgaris and Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile). J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2001;11(2):118-22.
  8. Schubert H, Prater E, Diener C. Pollinosis in chrysanthemum growers. [German] Z Gesamte Hyg 1990;36(3):162-3.
  9. Guneser S, Atici A, Cengizler I, Alparslan N. Inhalant allergens: as a cause of respiratory allergy in east Mediterranean area, Turkey. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr) 1996;24(3):116-9.
  10. Erkara IP, Cingi C, Ayranci U, Gurbuz KM, Pehlivan S, Tokur S. Skin prick test reactivity in allergic rhinitis patients to airborne pollens. Environ Monit Assess 2009 Apr;151(1-4):401-12.
  11. Jung SW, Oh EJ, Lee J, Kim Y, Kim SY, Kim Y, Park YJ. Usefulness of total IgE in predicting positive allergen specific IgE tests in Korean subjects. [Korean] Korean J Lab Med 2010;30(6):660-7.
  12. Oh EJ, Lee SA, Lim J, Park YJ, Han K, Kim Y. Detection of allergen specific IgE by AdvanSure Allergy Screen test. [Korean] Korean J Lab Med 2010;30(4):420-31.
  13. Nandakishore T, Pasricha JS. Pattern of cross-sensitivity between 4 Compositae plants, Parthenium hysterophorus, Xanthium strumarium, Helianthus annuus and chrysanthemum coronarium, in Indian patients. Contact Dermatitis 1994;30(3):162-7.
  14. Sharma SC, Kaur S. Airborne contact dermatitis from Compositae plants in northern India. Contact Dermatitis 1989;21(1):1-5.
  15. Paulsen E, Sogaard J, Andersen KE. Occupational dermatitis in Danish gardeners and greenhouse workers (III). Compositae-related symptoms. Contact Dermatitis 1998;38(3):140-6.
  16. Lamminpaa A, Estlander T, Jolanki R, Kanerva L. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by decorative plants. Contact Dermatitis 1996;34(5):330-5.
  17. Hausen BM, Oestmann G. The incidence of occupationally-induced allergic skin diseases in a large flower market. [German] Derm Beruf Umwelt 1988;36(4):117-24.
  18. Singhal V, Reddy BS. Common contact sensitizers in Delhi. J Dermatol 2000;27(7):440-5.
  19. Sharma SC, Tanwar RC, Kaur S. Contact dermatitis from chrysanthemums in India. Contact Dermatitis 1989;21(2):69-71.
  20. Wakelin SH, Marren P, Young E, Shaw S. Compositae sensitivity and chronic hand dermatitis in a seven-year-old boy. Br J Dermatol 1997;137(2):289-91.
  21. Fischer TW, Bauer A, Hipler UC, Elsner P. Non-immunologic contact urticaria from chrysanthemum confirmed by the CAST method. Complement-activated (C5a) cellular antigen stimulation test. Contact Dermatitis 1999;41(5):293-5.
  22. Ueda A, Aoyama K, Manda F, Ueda T, Kawahara Y. Delayed-type allergenicity of triforine (Saprol). Contact Dermatitis 1994;31(3):140-5.


As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.