Many recognize daisies as a symbol of innocence or peace, and when you look at them, it makes a lot of sense why. The most common daisy, the Shasta, typically has white flowers. However, there are some varieties that either have pink flower tips or entirely pink flowers – why is that the case, and what does the color pink mean?
Several types of daisies have pink tips, a famous example being the gerbera daisy. Pink is a prevalent color in nature, especially for flowers, because of its ability to stand out from the green background and attract potential pollinators.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of the pink color, how daisies develop pink, and what it symbolizes for us humans. Keep on reading to learn more about pink daisies.
Why Daisies Exhibit Pink Color
Color, especially bright colors such as pink, red, and orange, and those typically seen on flowers, serve an essential purpose in nature. Bright colors increase the likelihood that a potential pollinating insect or bird will spot the colorful flower amid monotonous greenery.
Pollination is essential for plants and flowers, and color is just one of the many factors they use to improve their chances of attracting a pollinator. Pollination leads to reproduction, which is the end goal.
A flower exhibiting bright colors is nature’s invitation for pollinators to approach.
Interestingly, color-exhibiting flowers often have shades of colors not visible to us humans but visible to their most common pollinators instead. This is because humans and insects differ in how they see the world and perceive color, and of course, flowers develop color for their pollinators, not us.
Daisy flowers (and almost all other flowers, for that matter) produce two crucial resources: pollen and nectar.
Nectar is essentially sugary water. It is a reward for pollinators – something to entice them into approaching. Insects and some tiny birds, such as the hummingbird, feed on nectar for energy.
Bees, for example, love nectar. They feed on it and then convert it into honey and wax. Their craving for nectar is one of the reasons they’re the most important pollinator.
The second resource, pollen, is a tiny grain. They’re produced by the daisy’s male reproductive system and found in large quantities on the surface of the flowers’ central disc.
When pollinators land on the daisy flower to feed on nectar, pollen sticks to them. When the pollinator moves around during and after feeding, they disperse pollen grains all over the place.
The idea is for pollen grains to come in contact with the female reproductive system of the flower. It can be the female reproductive system of the same flower or one on another flower of the same type.
Pollination can be carried out by pollinators, wind, water, and sometimes even raindrops! The technical term for pollination by insects and birds is biotic pollination, whereas it is abiotic pollination for wind and water.
The flowers that rely primarily on pollinators have adaptations such as strong chemical scents, bright, distinct colors, and even tiny physical adjustments in their structure to allow pollinators easier access to the nectar inside.
Flowers that rely more on the wind for pollination (about 12% of all flowering plants) typically don’t invest resources into the factors above since they only serve to attract pollinators.
Instead, they invest in producing lighter pollen grains in greater quantities to improve the grains’ ability to be transported by the wind.
Since they produce so much pollen, which goes airborne, wind-pollinated flowers tend to be allergens! An excellent example of a wind-pollinated flower is the dandelion.
Additionally, wind-pollinated flowers have adapted their structures to maximize wind exposure. The female reproductive part of the flower is often leathery, so airborne pollen can better stick to it.
To sum it up, daisies and many other flowers develop the pink color because of their ability to attract pollinators, which is crucial for their continued survival.
If you’ve found this interesting and want to learn more about the male and female reproductive systems found in daisies, I recommend this article: How Many Pistils Does a Daisy Flower Have?
How Daisies Develop Pink Color
Pink daisies develop color on their flowerheads by creating pigments. These pigments give the flower its desired color by absorbing specific light colors and reflecting others.
Remember the three primary colors – red, blue, and yellow – from grade school? Let’s use those to make it easier for us to understand what’s happening.
So, for example, if a flower wants to display the yellow color, the pigment it creates would absorb the incident red and blue light while reflecting only yellow light. Of course, we humans only see the light reflected off – which, in this case, is yellow.
To acquire color, flowers create pigments that reflect or absorb colors of light in the exact amounts required to exhibit the colors we see.
For pink, the pigments produced probably absorb most of the incident yellow and blue lights while reflecting red light and a slight amount of blue light. The result is what we see as the color pink.
There are a variety of pigments found in plants. Chlorophyll is the best-known example. It gives plants their green color and is a requirement for photosynthesis.
Since daisy flowers aren’t green, they don’t have chlorophyll. The pigments responsible for giving pink daisy flowers their color are anthocyanins. Interestingly, anthocyanins are also used as edible food colorings.
A Shasta Daisy Turning Pink
Has your daisy unexpectedly begun to turn pink around the edges?
If you have a Shasta daisy, the most popular variety of commercial daisies, there likely isn’t an issue.
Although Shasta daisies usually have yellow central discs (or disc florets) surrounded by white petals (or ray florets), sometimes, the outer edges of their white ray florets can develop a pinkish tint or hue.
It’s not common knowledge why only the tips of ray florets turn pink while the rest of the petal remains white. Still, it most likely has something to do with improving visibility and attractiveness to pollinators, which is very much in line with what we discussed above.
Regardless, a daisy developing pink edges on its white ray florets is uncommon but completely normal – there’s nothing you have to worry about.
However, you do want to be careful in judging the color shift. If your daisy is turning purple or brown, and it’s not just around the edges of the ray florets, but all over the flower, you might have a problem with the soil.
The soil in which the affected daisies are planted might have a nutrient imbalance or an unacceptable pH. Sometimes, sudden frost damage or extended exposure to colder temperatures can be the culprit.
What Pink Flowers Mean
For flowers, pink is an iconic color – there’s no doubt about it. For decades, pink has represented love, affection, delicacy, and, more recently, femininity.
While red flowers most often symbolize romance and love boldly and directly, pink is much more relaxed in conveying affection.
This means pink flowers are some of the most versatile options if you intend to gift them to someone. It goes without saying that they’d make a great gift for your significant other but would not be out of place if gifted to a good friend or a family member.
They also look great in a garden – pink flowers are distinct from their unvaried green backgrounds but still easy on the eyes.
The attractiveness and humble charm of pink flowers are one of the reasons gerbera daisies are so popular. These smaller, less sunlight-demanding, bright pink daisies make for excellent additions to any household. They can comfortably be grown indoors – they very commonly are.
Some daisies exhibit pink because of the color’s ability to attract pollinators. Pollination is vital for survival, so it makes sense that flowers dedicate some resources to being bright, colorful, and distinct. To pollinating insects such as honey bees, pink flowers are an invitation to feed on nectar.
Pink daisies, such as the gerbera daisy, develop their pink color by producing pigments. The pigments responsible for the color pink, in particular, are known as Anthocyanins.
While uncommon, it’s alright for Shasta daisies to turn pink at the edges of the ray florets.