Queen Anne's Lace

Scientific Name: Daucus carota
Family Name: Apiaceae

Flower: 3 – 5 in. (7.5 – 12.5 cm.) wide, flower head, with many clusters of small white five-petaled flowers. The center flower in the central cluster is brown or purplish, while all other flowers are white.

Leaf: 2 – 8 in. (5 – 20 cm) long, parsley leaves that grow alternately and are usually found towards the bottom of the plant. There is also a basal rosette of leaves growing on the ground.

Plant: 1 – 3.5 ft (30 – 100 cm.) tall, hollow stems.

Identifying Characteristics: The distinct purple central flower identifies Queen Anne's Lace. Without the flower, the carrot odor of the crushed leaves can also serve to distinguish it.

Location: We found Queen Anne's Lace on the Brandeis University campus in the wetlands area behind the Goldfarb library.

History and Comments: Queen Anne's Lace is native to Europe, and it is considered a weed, preferring dryer soils. It has two possible sources of introduction, either as an escaped ornamental or medicinal plant, or as seeds in imported hay seeds. Queen Anne's Lace is an ancestor of the carrot, and when crushed, its leaves produce a carrot like aroma. Queen Anne's Lace is named after Queen Anne, who supposedly loved to make lace, and the central purple flower is the blood that she may have shed when she pricked herself.

    Unless otherwise specified, all text, photographs, and drawings are Copyright (c) by Shu-Yee Chen and Deborah Hamer 2003. No part of this page may be reproduced without prior written consent of the authors.