An interesting feature of the flower is the single dark purple floret in the center of the flower (and sometimes it is blood red). Legend has it that Queen Anne’s Lace is named after Queen Anne of England, an expert lace maker. One day she pricked her finger with a needle while making lace, and a single drop of blood fell into the lace, thus the dark purple floret in the center of the flower. In reality, the function of this red or purple flower is to attract insects.
If you examine the lace-like flowers of the Wild Carrot closely, you will find all kinds of visiting insects. Caterpillars of the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly eat the leaves, and bees and other insects drink the nectar.
Daucus carota has been used for medicinal purpose for several centuries, and the root is edible. In fact, women have used the seeds from the Carrot Plant as a contraceptive, and the earliest written reference for such use dates back to a work written by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine.
The flower heads also seem to become a rendezvous for insects looking for mates, and perhaps this is the plant's biggest contribution to nature.
After pollination, the umbel of the flower head begins to fold in on itself, somewhat like an umbrella that has been turned inside out, and during this process the seed head resembles a bird’s nest.
As the seeds ripen the flower head becomes more cup-like. At the tip of nearly every tiny flower stalk is a minute ovoid fruit covered with tiny sharp bristles, and this is what has been used as a contraceptive for centuries. The seeds are clearly visible in the image below.
The Wild Carrot is not native to the USA. The seeds were introduced by settlers from Europe. Regrettably, the Queen Anne's Lace is an invasive species and some dire action is required to prevent it from crowding out the indigenous flora. As can be seen below, the plant is widespread and does constitute a threat to the wildflowers of White Rock Lake.
required to prevent it from crowding out the indigenous flora