Conner, S - Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Annes Lace


By:  Seth Conner




The wild carrot is known by many things from all over the world.  In the United States it is commonly called “Queen Anne’s Lace” because of its resemblance to lace, and the red flower in the middle represents a droplet of blood from Queen Anne’s finger when she poked herself with a needle while she was making lace. In England it is generally called “Bird’s Nest” because when the flower dies it shrivels up into a nest-like shape.  This plant belongs to the Apiaceae family under the name Daucus carota.



            Queen Anne’s lace is naturally found in the temperate regions of Europe and southwest Asia.  It was brought to the United States for medicinal purposes and now is populated throughout the country and has even spread to some parts of Canada.  Wild carrots grow in dry fields and along roadsides in the following biomes:  temperate broadleaf & mixed forests; temperate grasslands, savannas, & shrublands; deserts; taiga; and montane grasslands & shrublands.




             “Bird’s nest” is very common and considered an invasive, noxious weed.  It does not require a lot of rain to photosynthesize so it can outgrow its competition.  Its leaves can irritate the human skin but the most dangerous aspect of Queen Anne’s lace is that it resembles the water hemlock, one of the most poisonous plants in North America. 




Although the wild carrot seems dangerous it has several benefits.  Scientists have confirmed that its seeds can be crushed and used for a natural contraceptive.  Research done with mice has found that it disrupts the implantation process during conception.  Also, Queen Anne’s lace’s roots are edible in the early stages of growth, after that they become too woody to eat.



The wild carrot is a biennial plant, which is one that takes two years to complete its life cycle.  In the first year of growth the wild carrot grows its stem, leaves and roots.  Then in the winter months the reproductive cycle becomes inactive until spring.  During the spring the plants continues to grow until June when it begins to flower.  In the center of the flower there is a red petal that attracts insects for pollination.  Queen Anne’s lace can grow anywhere from 1to 3 feet tall.




There was no specific reason I chose this plant.  I knew it was very common in this area and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about it.  I wanted to find out if it was edible or not, if it was common all over the United States, and if it was poisonous to us or other animals.  I found out that this plant was useful in many different ways.