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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

30 June, 2016

Wild Carrot: Queen Annes Lace

The wild carrot (Daucus carota) is a common plant of our cliff tops and of chalk grassland. It has a lovely domed flower head that consists of lots of small florets, a bit like a cauliflower!
When they first come out they often have a small reddish patch at the centre and the country name for the plant is Queen Anne's Lace, the flowers looking like lace and the small reddish spot in the middle looking like a small patch of blood where the lace maker pricked their finger with their needle! Queen Anne was a renowned lace maker.
True to its name of wild carrot the root of the plant is edible just like the cultivated variety however, it is only palatable whilst young. The rest of the plant is less so and can cause upset if eaten. Many members of the carrot family, notably the hemlock, are of course poisonous and so collecting wild carrot for food is possibly not a good idea unless one is very sure of what one is doing.
Flowering from June until August this is another umbellifer that is very popular with insects of all kinds and is a good hunting ground for insect photographers.
Wild Carrot: Queen Annes Lace