Queen Anne’s Lace

I was quite young when my parents identified Queen Anne’s lace for me. Egocentric child that I was, I took pride in the bountiful display of this beautiful bloom that was connected to my name.. It never occurred to me that a flower in every ditch was not likely to be precious.

Fast forward 65 years. If anyone asked me to identify Queen Anne’s lace from the window of a moving car, I could have done it in an instant. You are welcome to laugh when I tell you I did not recognize it in our own garden. A plant that voluntarily came up two years in a row was accepted for what it was – something with wispy green foliage, spindly stems, and bedraggled white blooms hardly worth looking at. Neighbor Amy, in response to my openness to hear her garden secrets, identified it about a year ago. She gently let me know most folks would consider it a weed.

072216 Queen Anne's Lace in NC.jpg

I thought my opinion of the weed would remain low. It did until a gifted naturalist wrote about it in the Asheville newspaper at the end of the growing season. I looked for the article from last year but couldn’t find it. Daughter Lise found it, though, and she lives in Denmark. Maybe I was too close. The man included a folk tale of how it got its name, explained it was part of the carrot family, and published a painting of it done by his wife. He noted that many mature blooms have a dark spot in the middle which may attract insects. I looked at every bloom, trying to see that black spot and was unsuccessful.  Click here to read the article.

072216 Queen A Lace black bloom.jpg

This year I again looked for a tiny black area in the blooms we passed on our morning walk. Eureka! Many of the plants had them! I have no clue why I couldn’t see a single one last year. The tiny black area was usually raised above the white, which was quite distinctive close up. When we drive in and out of our area, I wear a smug smile. I know a secret now that was hidden from me for most of a generous lifetime.

6 thoughts on “Queen Anne’s Lace

  1. What an interesting story Anne! And now I will be forever looking for that little black spot. I love Queen Anne’s Lace – weed or not and your name is lovely to match your character too.


  2. The first time I heard of Queen Anne’s Lace was while reading the Anne of Green Gables books when much younger. The way Lucy Montgomery described them, they sounded like an earthly treasure which beautified her home town wonderfully. I have liked them ever since. 🙂


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