Common Name: Queen Anne’s Lace
Scientific Name: Daucus carota
Habitat & Range: dry, sunny meadows and roadsides statewide
Bloom Time: summer and fall
About: So many of our wildflowers are non-native European garden plants that have escaped, and this is one of them. A member of the carrot family (and thus a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies) Queen Anne’s Lace is a common and well-known plant. I recall hearing the story behind the little cluster of dark red flowers in the center as a child: that Queen Anne (whoever that was, I was not sure) was making lace and pricked her finger with the needle and a drop of her blood got on it. But now I’m fairly sure handmade lace is made with a tiny crochet hook (right?) so I’m thinking Queen Anne must have had to work pretty hard to draw that drop of blood. At any rate, her namesake plant is now considered an invasive, though I’ve not heard of any plans to rid the state of it.
The root of Queen Anne’s Lace can apparently be dug, dried, ground, and used as a coffee substitute. But beware that in the family of flat-topped flowers (which we shall explore in the coming weeks) there are many lookalikes–and some of them are deadly. So hold off on making that “coffee” until you really know what’s what. Next week: water hemlock.
Reference: Wildflowers of Michigan by Stan Tekiela; Adventure Publications, 2000