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Queen Anne’s Lace Notecard



Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

Queen Anne’s Lace is the wild stock from which our familiar carrot is derived. Although native to the Old World, these white lacy umbels are a familiar sight throughout North America. This plant is a biennial which grows in its second year from a taproot to a height of 2-4 feet. The leaves are finely divided. The attractive 2-4″ “flower” is actually a compound inflorescence made up of many small flowers. The central flower at each umbel is often purple. During the flowering period the head is nearly flat or even slightly convex. As the seeds ripen the form becomes nest-shaped leading to an alternative name for this plant: “birds’ nest.” Wild carrot is edible when young but the root soon becomes too tough. Tiny fruits are hooked to ensure dispersal in the fur of any passing animal.

Queen Anne’s Lace is visited by a wide array of insects; many types of bees, wasps, flies and butterflies can be seen atop the flowers. I have also spotted predatory bugs and spiders awaiting unsuspecting meals. Pictured on this particular flower is a Crescent Butterfly.

The seeds and roots have been used in traditional medicines, and are highly beneficial for a variety of conditions.

artwork by Susan Bull Riley © 2003

text by Steve Sierigk