Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace aka Wild carrot)

Did you know that there is a Wild Carrot Museum?  I didn’t either!  As it is a virtual museum the only way to visit is online.  Take a look.

As common as this wildflower is, I am always amazed at the geometric intricacy of the inflorescence (blossom).  Looking closely one has to wonder about whether evolution could fully explain the elegant design of this amazing plant.

The flowers are shaped like a slice of a floral ball, called an umbel.  A mystery of nature, there is sometimes a separate purple flower  located in the center of the umbel. Until I got interested in wild flowers I thought this was an insect.  Turns out a lot people think the same thing as I did.  In fact, one of the theories of its purpose is that this evolved to attract predatory insects to pollinate the plant.  If it can fool humans, it is not a stretch to believe that this might fool a wasp “insect” brain.  As a back up plan, the flower can self-pollinate.

After the flower is fertilized the umbel curls upward into the familiar “bird’s nest shape”  giving the flower the Bird’s nest nickname.

If all this isn’t amazing enough, this weed has a root that tastes like a carrot if eaten while the plant is small.  Additionally, the tea has 1000’s of herbal/medicinal uses in folk lore listed on the net including increasing fertility in women and sexual arousal in males.  Whatever… it has to be better than using rhinoceros horns.

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Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved ©
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved ©

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