Queen Anne's Lace

Daucus carota

Copyright, Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary's College

Queen Anne's Lace, also called "Wild Carrot," is a common plant in dry fields, ditches, and open areas. It was introduced from Europe, and the carrots that we eat today were once cultivated from this plant.

Queen Anne's Lace grows up to four feet tall. Its leaves are two to eight inches long and fern-like. This plant is best known for its flowers, which are tiny and white, blooming in lacy, flat-topped clusters. Each little flower has a dark, purplish center.

The fruits of Queen Anne's Lace are spiky, and they curl inward to build a "birds' nest" shape.

This plant blooms from May to October. It is a biennial plant, which means it lives for two years. It will spend the first year growing bigger, and then bloom the second year.

Joel M. Schoeneker, Wisconsin State Herbarium

North Carolina State University

Since Queen Anne's Lace was introduced to this country, many people consider it an invasive weed. It will sometimes crowd and compete with native plants.

Some animals have benefited from the arrival of this wildflower. Caterpillars of the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly eat the leaves, bees and other insects drink the nectar, and predatory insects, such as the Green Lacewing, come to Queen Anne's Lace to attack prey, such as aphids.

People can eat the large taproot, which of course, is a carrot. The leaves of the plant, though, are toxic, and may irritate the skin.

Merel R. Black, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Society for Environment Education

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Eastern Black Swallowtail

Eastern Black Swallowtail

Goldenrod

Green Lacewing FP

Honey Bee

Giant Willow Aphid

Common Milkweed

Golden Northern Bumble Bee Po

Green Stinkbug

American Dog Tick

Pokeweed

Honey Bee Po

Differential Grasshopper

Chinese Mantid

Smooth Crabgrass

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

American Goldfinch

Red Clover

Green Lacewing

Black and Yellow Argiope

English Plantain

Eastern Bluebird

Devil's Beggar-tick

Green Stinkbug

Spotted Joe-pye Weed

Eastern Mole

Lamb's Quarters

Differential Grasshopper

Common Ragweed

Northern Mockingbird

Jimsonweed

Common Grackle

Black-eyed Susan

Green Lacewing

Kentucky Bluegrass

Chigger

Wild Strawberry

Common Mullein

Relationship to Humans:

As mentioned above, the taproots of Queen Anne's Lace are carrots, and are edible. Be cautious when handling this plant, though. Skin irritation is common. Also, there is a similar-looking plant, called Water Hemlock, which is deadly to eat. People have died eating what they thought was Queen Anne's Lace. Do not attempt to eat Queen Anne's Lace unless you have a positive identification from an expert! Many people plant Queen Anne's Lace in their gardens to attract insect predators, such as Green Lacewings and ant lions. Queen Anne's Lace will first attract aphids and other small pests, which will in turn attract the predators. Once the predators have arrived, they will continue to eat pests throughout the garden.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Magnoliopsida
ORDER
Apiales
FAMILY
Apiaceae
GENUS
Daucus
SPECIES
Daucus carota

 

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