Melampodium leucanthum, called the Blackfoot Daisy, is the perfect perennial "daisy" flower for the low-water Desert Garden. This Southwest native is a fast grower, providing a steady mass of bright white flowers nearly year-round, and forming a low mound 6 to 12 inches high and eventually two feet wide. M. leucanthum thrives in high heat and low water, and takes full sun or lightly filtered shade. It does require well-drained soil and won't tolerate standing water.
"Blackfoot" refers to tiny foot-shaped bracts on the ray flowers, which turn black as the flower ages, and which give the flower its nearly identical botanical and common names. Melampodium comes from the Greek melas, meaning "black," and pod, meaning "foot." Leucanthum is derived from the Greek leucos, meaning "white," and anthos, meaning "flower." Blackfooted white flower! Close enough — one of them just happens to be Greek
Use Blackfoot Daisy as a fine-textured ground cover flower, as a soft edging for agave and columnar cactus, and at the edges of native wildflower plantings, where it can keep the floral display going all Summer long. It has a very light, very sweet scent, which you may not notice unless you plant a lot of them or get down on all fours and really stick your face in it.