The Secret World of Queen Anne’s Lace

Walking through waist-high Queen Ann’s Lace, I couldn’t help wondering why plant people haven’t hybridized these wondrous white, intricate flowers…

Maybe it’s because this ubiquitous plant, variously dubbed Bishop’s Lace and Bird’s Nest, is also known to farmers as Wild Carrot?

Botanists call it Daucus carota and and its familiar taproot has been cultivated in colors ranging from yellow to bright orange, deep red and even purple.

Some farmers love Queen Anne’s Lace as a companion crop that can boost production of tomatoes, or create a microclimate of cool, moist air for lettuce.  Others decry it as a pest to grazing livestock, and 35 states in the USA have listed it as a toxic and invasive weed.

Herbalists have praised the medicinal powers of Daucus carota, but please ☠️ DON’T TOUCH OR INGEST ☠️ any part of this plant unless you’ve been trained…

That’s because Queen Anne’s Lace looks alarmingly similar to deadly Poison Hemlock and the latter has killed countless people throughout history, stretching back to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates.

In any case, as I walked down a pathway lined with these waist-high flowers, I couldn’t help noticing dark spots on every blossom. I swung my Sony a7rIII with 24mm f1.4 Sony GMaster lens up close to one and what do you know?

Plant after plant was sprinkled with tiny beetles in the process of reproducing. They appear to be some species of the soldier beetle, Ragonycha, who specialize in feeding and mating on Queen Anne’s Lace.

Takes all kinds.

The Secret World of Queen Anne’s Lace, #2 of 2
At first I didn’t notice the dark spots on these Daucus carota blossoms. But look closely and what do you know? Ragonycha beetles view Queen Anne’s Lace as a honeymoon resort.

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