M Shutter speed 1/100 F 5.6 ISO 200 focal length 46mm –
940 views, March 13, 2014
Taken on July 31, 2010 at the old CNR line in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada
Featured in Wildflowers of the World (January, 2012)
Information from Wikipedia (Daucus Carota):
“Daucus carota (common names include wild carrot, (UK) bird’s nest, bishop’s lace, and (US) Queen Anne’s lace) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia and naturalised to northeast North America and Australia; domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus.
Daucus carota is a variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall and flowering from June to August. The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3–7 cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath; finally, as they turn to seed, they contract and become concave like a bird’s nest. The dried umbels detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds.1
Very similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock, Daucus carota is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in its center.
Like the cultivated carrot, the wild carrot root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume. A teaspoon of crushed seeds has long been used as a form of birth control; its use for this purpose was first described by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago. Research conducted on mice has offered a degree of confirmation for this use—wild carrot was found to disrupt the ovum implantation process, which reinforces its reputation as a contraceptive.2 Chinese studies have also indicated the seeds block progesterone synthesis, which could explain this effect.
As with all herbal remedies and wild food gathering, extra caution should be used, especially since the wild carrot bears close resemblance to a dangerous species, poison hemlock. The leaves of the wild carrot can cause phytophotodermatitis, so caution should also be used when handling the plant.
The wild carrot, when freshly cut, will draw or change color depending on the color of the water in which it is held. Note that this effect is only visible on the “head” or flower of the plant. Carnations also exhibit this effect. This occurrence is a popular science experiment in primary grade school
This beneficial weed can be used as a companion plant to crops. Like most umbellifers, it attracts predatory wasps to its small flowers in its native land; however, where it has been introduced, it attracts only very few of such wasps .
This species is also documented to boost tomato plant production when kept nearby, and it can provide a microclimate of cooler, moister air for lettuce, when intercropped with it.
Wild carrot was introduced and naturalised in North America, where it is often known as “Queen Anne’s lace”. It is so called because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center represents a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny red flower, coloured by anthocyanin, is to attract insects.
The USDA has listed it as a noxious weed 3, and it is considered a serious pest in pastures. It persists in the soil seed bank for two to five years"