Daucus carota (Queen Anne's Lace)
|Also known as:||Wild Carrot, Bird's Nest|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; open fields, roadsides, waste areas, woodland edges|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||12 to 40 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: UPL NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in flat clusters (umbels) 2 to 5 inches across, in groups (umbellets) of 20 to 30 flowers each. Individual flowers are white, have 5 petals and mostly about 1/8 inch across. The flowers on the outer edge of an umbel have petals of unequal size, with the outer petals much larger than the inner petals; the larger outer petals are sometimes notched at the tip. There is often a single flower in the center of an umbel that is dark purplish.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are compound and fern-like, to 10 inches long, 6 inches wide, long-stalked near the base of the plant, becoming smaller with much shorter stalks and more widely spaced on the upper plant. Leaflets are divided into narrow segments; the lower leaves are twice compound and look more feathery than the upper leaves.
As a flower cluster matures it folds up, creating a structure resembling a cage, holding the fruit: a ribbed seed with stiff hairs along the ribs. Seed ripens from purplish to greenish to brown. The entire seed head can detach from the plant and be carried by the wind to a new breeding ground.
A plant blooms for most of the summer so It is not unusual to see flowers in varying stages of maturity at the same time on a single plant. There are multiple species in the carrot family with small white flowers and divided leaves, but Queen Anne's Lace is easy to distinguish by its showy bracts. When not flowering, its feathery compound leaves might be confused for other members of the carrot family, but leaves of other species are typically smaller or less finely divided. Queen Anne's Lace also prefers dry soil so isn't likely found in wetlands or wet meadows. This species is likely under-reported in Minnesota. The food crop carrot was cultivated from this species. It makes one wonder if it will become invasive some day...
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Queen Anne's Lace plant
- a colony of Queen Anne's Lace, with Spotted Knapweed
- spring rosette of leaves
- more flowers
- more leaves
- roadside infestation of Queen Anne's Lace
- roadside infestation
Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County, Whitewater Wildlife Management Area, Winona County, and in Goodhue County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?