Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) grows wild throughout our country. These lovely wild biennials produce a carrot-like taproot, hence its proper name. One of the stories of this flower is about the British Queen Anne II (1665-1714) who was tatting white lace with her needle and pricked her finger. A drop of blood fell on the lace, and sometimes a dark red flower appears on the center of the flower.
At this time of the year I find lots of Queen Anne’s Lace plants along the roadsides. I don’t always find the drop of blood in the center of the flower, but I often find the bird’s nest flower. The weather is hot and plants are drying causing the blossoms to curl upward and form a cup-shaped basket that looks like a nest, and forms seeds.
Queen Anne’s Lace has many symbols and meanings. These lacy flowers are sometimes added to perfume the bath, to attract love. Sometimes the flower is called “the bishop’s flower’ symbolizing sanctuary and refuge. When the flower curls up it becomes a symbol of a happy home.
This flower is not native to North America, but early Europeans who came to settle here grew it for medicinal purposes. Now it is listed as a weed, not a suitable plant. There are 14 states who list Queen Anne’s Lace as invasive. It is sometimes found growing in abandoned areas.
Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a similar plant and it is deadly. People have died eating the the carrot-ish root of Poison Hemlock. Best not to eat either one, no matter the sweet perfume. On a happier note, it’s best to use these flowers in bouquets with other flowers and enjoy the fragrance.