Queen Anne’s Lace: A Beautiful Wildflower

I seems like everywhere I go lately I notice Queen Anne’s Lace. This delicate wildflower is growing everywhere in Pennsylvania, and I was surprised to see in all along our route to Virginia Beach, through West Virginia and Maryland too.  I’ve always thought of it as a native but apparently it originated in Europe.

Learn about this beautiful wild flower commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace, it's history and the difference between it and some other dangerous look alikes.

Queen Anne’s Lace: A Beautiful Wildflower

Learn about this beautiful wild flower commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace, it's history and the difference between it and some other dangerous look alikes.

Somewhere along the way I remembered a tale about the origins of the name “Queen Anne’s Lace.” I think it was Mother Nature, a wonderful woman from girl scout camp, who told us all kinds of stories about plant folklore. According to her, Queen Anne pricked her finger with a needle while making lace, and if you look close you will see what looks like a drop of blood, in the middle of the lacy flower.

Learn about this beautiful wild flower commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace, it's history and the difference between it and some other dangerous look alikes.

Queen Anne’s Lace or  Daucus carota, is also known as wild carrot, because it was once used as a substitute for carrots. Some say that the carrots which we grow today were originally cultivated by this species. I also remember as a child that we would pull the plant out of the ground to “see the carrot.” It remember that it smelled just like a carrot but it looked odd and was covered in dirt so I never actually tasted it.

Queen Anne's Lace Nest ~ gardenmatter.com

Another common name for this plant is “bird’s nest“, due to its nest-like appearance when the flower curls up as it goes to seed.

Learn about this beautiful wild flower commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace, it's history and the difference between it and some other dangerous look alikes.

I like to pick Queen Anne’s lace for flower arrangements. The cut flower will last for several days and the white color and lacy shape pairs well with many other flowers. It even works well on its own.

A word of caution, while I was writing this post I found several articles mentioning the danger of mistaking this harmless, though maybe somewhat invasive plant, with similar looking plants.

photo by: Wikimedia Commons

photo by: Wikimedia Commons – Poison Hemlock

One most notably is Poison Hemlock or Conium maculatum. Poison Hemlock as the name suggest, is deadly and many people have died after eating what they thought was a wild carrot.

Caution: Never try eating something in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what it is.

photo by: debs-eye on Flickr

photo by: debs-eye on Flickr – Giant Hogweed

Another similar looking plant is Giant Hogweed or Heracleum mantegazzianum.  This highly toxic lacy white plant will burn your skins causing blisters, and may cause blindness if the sap touches the eye. Of course, as the name suggests, Giant Hogweed grows about 8 feet tall with Queen Anne’s lace only about half that height.

Caution: Always be careful when dealing with plants in the wild.

For details on differentiating Queen Anne’s Lace with other toxic plants check the following articles:
http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/queen-annes-lace.html
http://www.nwplants.com/information/white_flowers/white_comparison.html

 

Learn about this beautiful wild flower commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace, it's history and the difference between it and some other dangerous look alikes.

 

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Garden Matter, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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Comments

  1. Earleneginter says:

    We also havequeen annes lace,it Is termed a weed here, I keep a few growing, you can dry the flower,and makes a really beautiful snow flake or whatever! A friend took the flower and died sheep wool with it it came out a really Georges yellow green.

  2. It’s considered a weed here in Canada. But I know my cousins grow it in England. I’ve always wanted to dig up a clump and put it into a border. I think they’re so lovely.

    • Hi Heather,

      I think many people think if it as a weed here too. I sure grows like one. I haven’t tried to grow it but this summer I really enjoyed seeing it every where. I bet your cousins have a beautiful garden in England. My sister lived there for a short while and we went to visit. Such a beautiful place. Flowers everywhere!
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Patti

  3. I have a recipe for Queen Anne’s Lace jelly. Made with an infusion or tea made from the flowers. It is absolutely delicious! The jelly is a light Amber color and has a delicate fruity flavor. Everyone who tries it loves it. I found the recipe online

    • Hi Diane,

      I have never heard of Queen Anne’s Lace jelly but it sounds really interesting. Tea from the flowers too?
      Thanks for sharing this information. I will definitely have to look into it!
      Patti

  4. Be careful picking this in the wild. I got some roadside and took home, WAS FULL of Chiggers. I scratched for a week.

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