The Queen’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace

AKA Wild Carrot. “Chigger Weed”–such a common roadside and pasture wildflower that we take it for granted. But there isn’t so much of it on our place here, and roadsides are notoriously difficult places to stop and set up a tripod. So when I found this one just where we cross Goose Creek on the single-plank footbridge, I stuck the Canon Powershot on the tripod and used the macro setting to get a top-down closeup.

Queen Anne’s Lace is a member of the carrot family that, when I first learned it some decades back, was scienficially-named Umbelliferae (now Apiaceae). That name derives from the type of flat-topped inflorescence called an UMBEL that you see diagrammed in the inset. In this plant, what we have (seen from a side view of course) is an umbel of umbels–or compound umbel.

And as for the chiggers–I can’t find a thing that says that this plant is any more likely than any other to harbor the itchy little mites with which we were so familiar as kids in Alabama. They were especially fond of the hidden, tender parts as I recall. Makes me itch to think about it.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. now I’M going to be itcing all day! even the mention of chiggers does that. 🙂

    i hope queen anne’s lace doesn’t harbor them b/c they have been a regular presence in my little window-sill vases…..

  2. Being new to the area (from Florida) I have not weeded anything this spring and summer. I wanted to see what would sprout up. Some items have turned out to be the weeds I don’t want. Some have been beautiful and worth keeping! Thanks for reminding us to notice this delicate wild flower (one of my favorites).