Last updated on May 22nd, 2023 at 08:58 am
The Queen Anne’s lace herb, also known as wild carrot, is a biennial wildflower herb found in many parts of the United States. Native to the European continent, the plant is now commonly found across the states of Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Minnesota, and Illinois in the United States.
The Queen Anne’s lace flowers are botanically known as Daucus Carota. They belong to the Daucus genus of the Apiaceae family and are a relative of the carrot or root vegetable, Daucus Carota Sativus. This wild herb is commonly found in meadows, drylands, fields, waste areas, and along the sides of roads. It is considered an invasive species with efforts to eradicate the plant from some regions due to its aggressive propagation and spread.
Despite its invasive nature, Queen Anne’s lace flower makes for a stunning and captivating bloom. It is a beautiful addition to any wildflower garden. The Queen Anne’s lace plant’s minuscule, pristine white flowers are radially symmetrical. They are arranged in flat-topped clusters or umbels that measure approximately 2-5 inches in diameter. An umbel is a flower composed of several umbellets or small clusters of flowers at the end of a stalk and joined together at the base. The umbel derives its name from an upturned umbrella, the shape that the Queen Anne’s lace flowers take as they bloom upwards from a common point on a stalk.
Each umbel consists of approximately 20-30 flowers. The creamy white flowers of Queen Anne’s lace plant have five petals each and are very tiny. They measure about one-eighth of an inch. In the center of each cluster or umbel is a distinct tiny single dark reddish-purple flower. This dark purple flower in the center of each cluster gives the Queen Anne’s lace flower meaning its significance.
What does the Queen Anne’s Lace flower symbolize?
The Queen Anne’s lace flowers derive their name from Queen Anne, the Queen of England and wife of King James I. She was believed to be an excellent and highly skilled lacemaker. When issued a challenge in court by her friends to make lace as beautiful as the flowers of a wild carrot, she accidentally pricked her finger in the process with her needle. A single drop of her blood fell onto the center of the lace. It is said that the single dark purple floret in the center of the flower represents her blood. The meaning of Queen Anne’s lace flower also derives from this historical anecdote.
The Queen Anne’s lace flower is also known as the wild carrot. In the past, the taproot of this plant was used as a substitute for carrots in soups and stews. The plant is also known as Bishop’s Lace or Bird’s Nest. The latter name is derived from its nest-like appearance when the flowers fade, dry up, and curl into a bird’s nest-like clump to shelter its spiky fruit.
In the language of flowers, the pristine or milky-white Queen Anne’s lace flower meanings stand for sanctuary, haven, refuge, protection, fantasy, and fertility. The flowers symbolize meanings tied to femininity and a sense of security and growth.
All in all, the Queen Anne’s lace flower symbolic meanings are:
Meaning of the Queen Anne’s Lace flower colors
Pink Queen Anne’s lace flower symbolizes joyfulness, playfulness, youth, fun, celebration, platonic love, and sweetness.
White Queen Anne’s lace flower represents cleanliness, freshness, new beginnings, healing, innocence, and purity.
Interesting facts about the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers
- As a relative of its popular culinary counterpart, the carrot, the Queen Anne’s lace plant’s taproot, was used as a substitute for carrots in various dishes in the past. In its first year, the plant’s long taproot can be cooked and eaten. The stem and leaves of this plant are said to give off the sweet smell of carrots when crushed.
- According to Old English superstition, the dark reddish-purple floret in the center of the Queen Anne’s lace flower cluster was believed to cure epilepsy. During Queen Anne’s time, the plant’s seeds were used as a natural aphrodisiac, contraceptive, and cure for indigestion, diarrhea, and colic. The plant seeds are still used as a remedy for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, water retention, gallbladder issues, and joint pain in some parts of the world.
- The ancient Romans are believed to have consumed the plant as a vegetable. American colonists made wine from boiled taproots. The roots were also roasted for coffee, while the plant was boiled to make herbal teas and concoctions. The young roots can be used in stews, soups, stir-fries, and savory food dishes as a substitute for carrots. In some places, the flower clusters are fried and eaten in salads. The oil from the plant is used as a flavoring agent in candies, baked goods, beverages, and frozen desserts.
- An interesting and important point is that Queen Anne’s lace plant must be distinguished from a similar-looking plant called poison hemlock. The poison hemlock, or Conium Maculatum, is a poisonous and deadly herb that must not be consumed. It is very important to know how to differentiate between the two plants. One thing to look out for is the smell of the plants. The poison hemlock and its cousin, fool’s parsley, smell foul and disgusting.
- On the other hand, Queen Anne’s lace plant smells like a sweet carrot. Also, the poison hemlock has a smooth stem, while the wild carrot has a fuzzy or hairy stem. The only note of caution when growing wild carrots is that the plant can cause allergic reactions or skin irritations in sensitive individuals.
How to grow Queen Anne’s Lace flowers
Growing and caring for Queen Anne’s lace is easy, making it a great option for cottage gardens.
- Plant the Queen Anne’s lace in loamy, nutrient-deficient, and well-draining soil with slightly acidic to neutral pH.
- Place them in a spot with full sun for optimum blooming and vigor.
- Water the plant sparingly.
- No need to fertilize.
How to care for Queen Anne’s Lace flowers
- Once established, Queen Anne’s lace doesn’t need to be watered.
- Only water it if there’s a long drought period.
- Pinch off a dying flower at the base.
- Deadhead to prevent plants from self-seeding and spreading.
Best time to gift Queen Anne’s Lace flowers
The Queen Anne’s lace flower is an ideal and beautiful addition to wildflower and cottage gardens. They are also excellent cut-flowers and can complement and fill floral bouquets for various occasions.
Their lace-like appearance makes them a great accompaniment to bridal dresses and can be added to bridal bouquets and décor for a rustic and bohemian vibe. They can also be used in table décor or complements larger flowers such as carnations, roses, or tulips in bouquets and vases.
The dainty lace-like flowers are also associated with romance, royalty, and queens. Queen Anne’s lace flowers can be presented as a gift to the special woman in your life. They are great romantic gifts or tokens of admiration that can be given on birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day. They also make excellent gifts to women during Women’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Alternatively, the dried flowers can make bookmarks, scrapbooks, or greeting cards for gifts and home décor. The minuscule flowers are also ideal for resin jewelry, pendants, and keychains.
During the summer, the lacy, white flower clusters of Queen Anne’s lace bring beauty to the fields and meadows.
This wildflower is ideal for adding a bohemian and rustic touch to floral arrangements and bouquets.