Queen Anne’s Lace

Daucus carota, whose common names include wild carrot, bird’s nest, bishop’s lace, and Queen Anne’s lace (North America), is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, (the ‘umbellifer’ familysuch as the highly poisonous hemlock and the commonly seen cow parsley) with white flowers and feathery leaves. It is a dainty frothy wild flower often with a tiny red flower in the centre.

There are several stories as to why the wild version is named ‘Queen Anne’s lace‘. Most revolve around King James I’s consort – the Queen Anne in question – who is said to have pricked her finger and stained some lace with a drop of blood. Wild carrot’s single red flower surrounded by frothy white blossom is quite evocative of this tale.

Wild carrot flowers in the summer (June to August). However, being an umbellifer, its skeletal frame often adds a stark beauty to the winter landscape. And from the picture below you can see why it is also called ‘Bird’s Nest’

The wild carrot’s root is tough and stringy and not particularly palatable, though it does smell like a carrot.

July Squares | Perspective

28 Comments Add yours

  1. I like the fable a lot. What a pretty flower.

  2. pattimoed says:

    Very interesting details about this flower. I don’t recall ever seeing one. The red flower is so distinctive!

  3. Cathy says:

    Gosh, I never knew of the existence of the red flower – but it gives credence to its common name

  4. I’ve never seen Queen Anne’s lace . How interesting to have that single red flower.

    1. Heyjude says:

      They don’t all have it. I’ve been looking for a good example for years!

  5. Joanne Sisco says:

    It is such a pretty flower, but I give anything that looks like Queen Ann Lace I wide berth. Unfortunately I can’t tell the difference between Queen Ann Lace and Giant Hogweed which can cause terrible burns when in contain with skin. In the future, I will look for the single red flower in the centre … from a safe distance, of course!

    1. Heyjude says:

      You get giant hogweed over there? Easy to tell the difference though, giant hogweed really is giant! Much, much taller than common hogweed, cow parsley or this wild carrot. I agree that going near the nasty stuff is to be avoided.

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