Monday, June 02, 2008

Heads or Tails: The Legend of Queen Anne's Lace

New foliage of Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot) taken during the
Wild Edibles
walk on May 24
(Daucus carota)

Queen Anne, wife of James I of England, was an avid lace maker, and is the namesake of the flower. The tiny purple dot in the center represents a spot of blood caused by a needle prick to the queen’s finger, and this tiny sliver of color was thought to cure epilepsy. Black swallowtail butterflies flock to them like cats to catnip. Farmers consider it an invasive weed, and the milk from animals that graze upon it is supposed to taste a bit bitter and carroty. The plant is also called bee’s nest, bird’s nest, crow’s nest, and devil’s plague (seems a bit harsh!). The carrots that we eat today are believed to be derived from this wild variety, and to revert to it when not tended or cultivated. Queen Anne’s Lace roots have also been used as a coffee substitute, like chicory.
from Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide:
  • 'Daucus' is from 'daukos', which is Greek for carrot.
  • 'Carrot' is Celtic meaning 'red of colour'.
  • The are numerous legends about how this plant became associated with and was named after Queen Anne, wife of King James I of England.
  • Devil's plague was a common name given by farmers who found this weed difficult to control; rantipole means rude and reckless.
  • It is not known if there are benefits associated with having a purple flower located in the center of some flower clusters. A study showed that insects were neither attracted nor repelled by the presence or absence of the flower.
  • The first year roots of wild carrot are reported to be edible, but care must be taken to not mistake poison hemlock for wild carrot.
Queen Anne's Lace is just beginning to grow here but will not flower for quite awhile. I call it the "fractal flower." And making one of these fractals is on my todo list.

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  1. I love Queen Anne's Lace but didn't know the history! You have to buy it from the nursery here but it is worth the money anyday :-)

  2. Creative take on the theme. I like that!

  3. Great take on the theme once again! How hard was it to make the Queen Anne's Lace fractal?

  4. Nice, original take on the theme. That's a very pretty plant, and beautifully captured. Happy Tuesday!

  5. Excellent...a very unique take on this week's prompt!!!

  6. Wow, I had no idea. Very nicely done!

  7. very interesting piece of information.

  8. Cool! I had no idea about the history of Queen Anne's Lace! I love the explanation for the "spot of blood"! :)

  9. I've eaten them. They are biennial and taste like strong carrots the first ear but get woody and inedible the second year. I have a picture if I can find it I will post it for you. If I do, I will says so.

  10. What a creative and original angle for the ROYAL prompt!


    ROYALTY – SPOILTY, at The Mane Point


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