Queen Anne’s Lace
Raise your hand if you can recall a good urban legend! Urban legends are an important part of our culture. Passing from person to person, generation to generation, these stories were the original game of telephone. Most urban legends are thought-provoking, cringe-inducing, edge of your seat, WILD stories that are far from verifiable, but yet they live on. This week I learned a lot about the story behind the naming of the Queen Anne’s Lace plant, which is a true Urban Legend.
For starters, Queen Anne’s Lace, also known as the wild carrot, is a wildflower / herb found in many parts of the United States. With an emphasis on the term “wild”, this plant is sometimes considered a very invasive weed, as it has the ability to multiply and spread quickly. However, I am here to tell you that this plant can actually be an attractive addition to any bouquet or garden! With the ability to grow about 4 feet high, this fern-like foliage has tall, fuzzy stems that display a flattened collection of tiny white flowers, with a single dark-colored bud at its center. You will start to see these biennials in bloom between spring to fall. Since it’s easy to grow and multiply, there’s plenty around for everyone to love!
So, are you ready for the tall tale? Queen Anne’s lace is said to have been named after Queen Anne of England, who was an expert lace maker. The Legend says that while crafting away, Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle and a single drop of blood fell from her finger onto the lace, leaving the dark purple spot. This spot on the lace came to represent the bud at the “lace-like” center of the flower. WOW!
Know Your Roots
For the other name, the wild carrot, this is derived from history rather than a folktale. That’s right, there was a time in this plant’s history that it was as a substitute for carrots. This herb grows from a taproot, which looks much like a carrot and is edible when young. One more fun fact for you: this root can easily be mistaken for the poison hemlock, which looks very similar, but is deadly. ALERT! It’s important to know the difference between these two before you spice up your vegetable soup.
So how’s that for some Wednesday news? I hope I have overloaded you with enough facts for your next dinner conversation!