Photo of the Day: July 30, 2016 – Queen Anne’s Lace

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My mom always said that if so-called “weeds” are beautiful, why do they need to be taken out? I feel that way, too, so we have a lot of beautiful weeds around the house and driveway (where this photo was taken).

One of those is Queen Anne’s Lace, which is one of the most beautiful plants on the planet when it’s in full bloom. And then it turns into this lovely bird’s nest shape as it curls inward around itself.

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When I was a kid sorting cherries and skimming leaves from the tanks on the back of the catching frame (more on that here), I carried along a little book on weeds so I could identify them in the orchard as I trailed that frame row after row, orchard after orchard on the family farm, Johnson Farms.

Turns out that another name for Queen Anne’s Lace is “Wild Carrot,” and you can actually eat the roots, like you would a regular carrot we grow in the garden. Remember that little tip if you’re lost in the woods or in the midst of an apocalypse.

The plant blooms from May to October, and benefits creatures like bees and other insects that drink the nectar. Predatory insects like Green Lacewing come to Queen Anne’s Lace to attack prey like aphids. And there are a lot of these plants along the roads of Old Mission Peninsula, intermingled with beautiful lavender chicory and other “weeds.”

While you can eat the large taproot – the carrot part – the leaves of the plant are toxic and might irritate the skin.

And thus end’s Jane’s Horticultural Report for today.

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