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’ family – such 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