Certain images in nature make me pull out my camera. I just can’t resist. It’s an obsession. Queen Anne’s Lace is one such obsession. It doesn’t matter what season it is, what the weather is, whether the light is good or bad, or from which direction the light is coming. I must photograph Queen Anne’s Lace if I see it. I don’t know why. Search for the word “Queen” on my Flickr site, and you’ll get several pictures of this wildflower. Apparently, I’m not the only one with the QAL obsession. Search “Everyone’s Photos” for “Queen Anne’s Lace” on Flickr, and you will get more than 1,000 hits. (Beware… not all the photos labeled Queen Anne’s Lace really ARE Queen Anne’s Lace.)
It’s not like it is rare or anything. It can be found in just about any field or along any roadside in these parts. Apparently, it is not native to North America… so it can be found in Europe, too! In fact, I’ve seen a map showing it on every continent, except Antarctica. It’s common.
It’s common. How often we dismiss the common, the ubiquitous, the omnipresent. But how can you dismiss this flower? So pretty. So variable. So many personalities. So interesting.
The Latin name is Daucus carota. Another common name is Wild Carrot. I’ve never tried to eat any part of the plant, but in “The Literature” the leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots are all listed as edible. As to harvest and prepatation, I’ll leave that reseach to you… (The Literature also notes that it might give you dermatitis, and it can be toxic in large quantities, so proceed at your own risk.)
What fascinates me most about this plant is the way it seems to protect its seeds. The seed itself is small and bristly. It relies to a certain extent on hitchhiking for distribution. A deer may brush by a plant and the little barbs on the seeds grab hold of the deer’s hair. Later when the deer runs or shakes, the seeds fall off in a new location, hopefully suitable for a new plant to thrive.
The thing is, those seeds don’t stick so well to wet hair. Walk through a field on a damp, drizzly day and all the seeds appear to be trapped inside minature cages. Come back when things are dry, and the cage has opened, revealing willing hitchhikers.
What brilliant design. Things like that fascinate me. I’ve had a love affair with this plant since I was a kid at Girl Scout Camp. I first fell for it because it had a cool name. I learned to observe it through all the seasons and the image became a part of me. Then came the book knowledge – more facts to attach to this plant. And, I have a feeling that I’m not done yet. I may try munching on some leaves or roots this spring, in small quantities of course.