Daucus carota

Queen Anne’s lace (Wilde Möhre)

This “weed” grows down near the canal where I walk my dogs, and I’ve been observing it the last twelve months or so because of the seed-heads, which develop into huge sticky burrs which get lodged in the hair of my poor Irish wolfhound at this time of year!

A member of the carrot family, also known as the wild carrot, it has fine feathery leaves, a hairy stem, and a big white flower. I read somewhere that the seeds have been used both as a form of contraceptive, as an alternative medicine for Alzheimer’s disease, as a diuretic, as well as for simple digestive disorders such as wind!

Where does the name come from?  When fully open the flower does indeed look like a lace collar, but the dark red centre flower, or floret, is said to be a drop of Queen Anne’s blood where she pricked her finger while stitching the lace.

This single red floret is said to attract insects, but I like to think it is simply a quirk of nature… I remember the first time I wanted to photograph a flower in full bloom and I tried to remove the brownish red “speck” in the middle, thinking it was a bit of dirt, or a flower that had already started to shrivel up!

And the strange thing is that this speck is not always visible…. Has someone else done the same as me, just before I came along?! Or is this red flower only occasionally produced…

The bud, in its early stages…

                                                  Now beginning to open…

In full bloom… (see the dark centre floret?)

Curling inwards, like a bird’s nest…

And the seeds now clearly visible.

One thought on “Weeds

  1. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Parsnips and Carrots | Words and Herbs

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