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Daucus carota – Queen Anne’s Lace

Categories:Drought Tolerant Easy to Grow Ecology Invasive Plants Landscape Architecture Perennials

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Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota, was one of my mother’s favorite flowers. For this alone, I can love it forever, but there are so many good qualities that guide it to my heart. Queen Anne’s Lace is easy to grow, volunteers in unexpected places, and is as graceful as a gentle summer wind.

queen anne's lace
Dauca carota – Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace is naturalized along the roadsides of America. One might think it is native, but it is not.

Also known as wild carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace always seems to appear by chance in the garden. It is a short-lived perennial but seeds readily.  This habit of volunteering itself around the garden has endeared Queen Anne’s Lace to generations of gardeners who love a garden that is left to chance.

Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s lace – weed or not?

Also known as wild carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace always seems to appear by chance in the garden. It is a short-lived perennial but seeds readily.  This habit of volunteering itself around the garden has endeared Queen Anne’s Lace to generations of gardeners who love a garden that is left to chance.

It grows 2′-4′, springing up in spring like a woolly wild thing. Every year I have to remind myself that those new plants that look unlike anything I can remember planting the previous year are Queen Anne’s Lace. This is partly because almost every Queen Anne’s Lace in the garden is from reseeding, so I never know where it will appear.

As far as growing it, no special instructions necessary. Full sun is preferred but partial shade will do. Plants will be more floppy with less sun. Almost any kind of garden soil will do.

Queen Anne’s Lace: a weed? invasive?

Its ability to reseed profusely has made it a problem in some areas of the U.S., where it is considered invasive. Especially in areas where milk cattle are raised, cows foraging on large amounts of Queen Anne’s Lace have been reported to produce off-tasting milk.  Also potentially problematic is the tendency to settle rapidly in recently disturbed areas, colonizing faster than the native species.

I have always viewed a weed as simply as a plant that is growing where we do not want it. A rose growing in a cornfield could be considered a weed. The definition of a weed is absolutely tied to a human perspective. It is our opinion of that plant that makes or doesn’t make it a weed. This is why some plants can be divisive.

queen anne's lace
Queen Anne’s Lace in full bloom

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