Queen Anne’s Lace – Daucus carota

Monarche on Queen Anne's Lace 'bird's nest' seedhead
Monarche on Queen Anne’s Lace ‘bird’s nest’ seedhead

“Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne’s lace!”

Edna St Vincent Millay
(1892-1950)

Take a look at the picture…Bird’s Nest, Bee’s Nest…are alternate names for the wild carrot known as Queen Anne’s lace. As the plants flowers finish their bloom and begin to die back the

flower head curls in on itself, with the result of looking much like a bird’s nest! Its other common name, Queen Anne’s lace is because they were named for Queen Anne of England (1665-17140), who is reported to have been an excellent lace maker. There are many myths surrounding Queen Anne and this plant…one of them being how the plant got the darkened spot in the middle of the umbel of flowers. It was said that Queen Anne had pricked her finger with a needle and the drop of blood stained the lace (and the flower) with her blood.

 

This biennial plant of fields, meadows, waste places and roadsides is native to Europe and southwest Asia. It has now become naturalized in northeast North America and Australia. In many areas it has been declared a noxious weed. In some areas it is prohibited and even under quarantine! Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington states all find it, at least noxious.

 

It seems that traditionally almost every part of this plant was used in folk medicine.

Root: works as a diuretic, eliminates kidney stones and worms. As poultice for wounds and ulcers

            Seeds: used as a contraceptive, and an abortifacient, also used for hangovers

            Seeds & Leaves: settle the stomach when used together

            Leaves: with honey, will clean weeping sores

            Sap: used for cough and congestion

Whole Plant: made into a decoction – used for dropsy, kidney diseases, gout, gravel & stones

The root is edible, but harvest it the first year, the second it gets woody and tough. An essential oil of the seeds is used in perfumery.

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