Mother Earth Living

Herb to Know: Queen-Anne's-Lace

Queen-Anne’s-lace grows freely throughout North America, but its traditional medicinal and culinary uses are not well-known today.
By Anita B. Stone
February/March 2007
Add to My MSN

Queen-Anne's-lace grows wild in a variety of colors, forms and varieties. In some states, it is designated a noxious weed.
Photo by Jerry Pavia


Content Tools

Related Content

How to Press Flowers: Make a Plant Press

Learn how to press flowers and construct a plant press to preserve your favorite herbs for study, di...

Phoenix Rising

A Christmas present leads editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence to ponder the benefits of green-buil...

Lose Sleep, Gain Weight: The Link Between Sleep and Weight

Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night will cause your body to hold onto fat and lose muscle mass, ...

Engulfed in the Coast

I get annoyed at hyped-up anniversaries, dredging up the past, distorting events through the lens of...

Queen-Anne’s–lace (Daucus  carota) is found in many parts of the world. It bursts with large, delicate umbels of white to purple-tinged flowers in spring and summer. Each umbel possesses a tiny single red or purple spot in the center, and as the seeds begin to ripen in late summer, the umbels contract to resemble a bird’s nest. Queen-Anne’s-lace earned its common name from a legend that tells of Queen Anne of England (who died in 1714) pricking her finger—drawing a drop of blood—while sewing lace.          

Queen-Anne’s-lace belongs to the carrot family (Umbelliferae) and contains beta-carotene and other properties that are used to treat bladder and kidney conditions.  Also known as wild carrot, Queen-Anne’s-lace grows taller than today’s cultivated carrots and the stalks are rougher. The 17th-century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper believed the roots to be “small, long and hard and unfit for meat, being somewhat sharp and strong.”

Nonetheless, early Europeans cultivated Queen-Anne’s-lace, and Romans ate it as a vegetable. American colonists boiled the taproots, sometimes in wine. They also mixed the leaves with honey and applied  the poultice to sores or ulcers, to help heal and kill bacterial infections. Settlers also used the herb as a source of orange dye. 

The seeds of Queen-Anne’s-lace have their own benefits. They are nearly flavorless and can be added to foods to help prevent flatulence. Historically, they were used as a form of contraception. 

Throughout history, Queen-Anne’s-lace  maintained its popularity in the home and garden. It was soaked in rainwater and used as a perfume. The flowers appeared frequently in cut and dried floral arrangements on dinner tables. Cooks prepared the young leaves in a green salad or tossed bits into soups as a spice, and the flower heads were sometimes dipped in batter and fried as fritters.

Wild carrot is high in sugar (second only to the beet among root vegetables); Irish, Hindus and Jews sometimes used the herb to sweeten puddings and other foods. The roots were roasted and used as a coffee substitute or infused as a mild diuretic tea. Queen-Anne’s-lace is native to Mediterranean regions, and grows in any well-drained soil. It blooms from May through August. In North America this plant is quite common in fields and landscapes, and because it grows without being cultivated, there are many colors, forms and varieties. Check with your county extension agent before you plant it, as this is designated a noxious weed in some states.  

This biennial never forms a root mass, but it spreads rapidly and is a prolific seeder in well-drained soil. Gather handfuls of seeds in the fall to sow in early spring.


Anita B. Stone is a certified master gardener, horticultural therapist and partners an herb business in North Carolina. 








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.