The Natural World – Queen Anne’s Lace
Just when late summer starts drying up all the wild flowers, a brave little road warrior appears in our fields and along our roadsides, even in desiccated, barren ditches. It’s Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus Carota)also known as Wild Carrot because its tap root is edible when the plant is young and tastes somewhat like a carrot.
It’s called a “beneficial weed”. Some gardeners plant it in their vegetable beds because it attracts pests away from the crop plants. It is said to boost tomato production when used as a companion plant, and it can shade and provide cooler moister air for lettuce. In Europe the seeds of the plant were used by women as a contraceptive.
If you want to try the root as food be very careful because another weed, poison hemlock, that is definitely NOT beneficial resembles it and blooms at the same time. Look and see if one of the flowers on the plant has a tiny purple floweret in the center of the white bloom. Then you know it is Queen Anne’s Lace. That occasional purple spot has given the Daucuc Carota another nickname – Bird in the Nest.