Friday, July 27, 2007

Did You Know?

Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) is a variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall and flowering from June to August. The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3-7cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath; finally, as they turn to seed, they contract and become concave like a bird's nest. This has given the plant its British common or vernacular name, Bird's Nest. Very similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock, it is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in its center.

Like the cultivated carrot, the wild carrot root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume. A teaspoon of crushed seeds has long been used as a form of natural birth control – its use for this purpose was first described by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago. Research conducted on mice has offered a degree of confirmation for this use – it was found that wild carrot disrupts the implantation process, which reinforces its reputation as a contraceptive. Chinese studies have also indicated that the seeds block progesterone synthesis, which could explain this effect.
It is recommended that, as with all herbal remedies and wild food gathering, one use appropriate caution. Extra caution should be used in this case, as it bears close resemblance to a dangerous species (Water Hemlock). The leaves of the wild carrot can be a skin irritant, so caution should also be used when handling the plant.

Wild carrot was introduced and naturalised in North America, where it is often known as "Queen Anne's lace". It is so called because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center represents a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny red flower, coloured by anthocyanin, is to attract insects.

All research was found HERE

Remember click on the photo's to enlarge. We thought this was an interesting article. We hope you enjoyed it.


kris said...

This is a great post - I love Queen Anne's lace. I knew a lot of that info - but learned new stuff too. Your photos are beautiful - it's hard to get good photos of those tiny flowers! I love this plant, but it can be invasive - I usually pull as much as I leave.

Susie said...

Very interesting post and I learned a few things :)
I don't have this plant in my garden...

Ann said...

I did enjoy your post. Queen Anne's Lace is all along the trails we ride. I've tried to take some photos of them but nothing has turned out as nice as what you have here.