Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Flowers: White Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Grandma T. crocheted a beautiful white lace handkerchief for me to carry on my wedding day. I remember her sitting in a big chair with skeins of fine cotton which she transformed at a fast speed into beautiful lace patterns.

Marie lived with Grandma D. as a housekeeper and friend for many years after Grandad died. She crocheted wide lace borders on white cotton pillow cases for my wedding gift. My cedar chest contains several lovely pieces of handmade lace made by family members in a day when women learned these arts in childhood.

I wouldn't know how to tie the first knot for a piece of lace, but I found some lovely pieces in the fields this week.

Budding Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace, an edible wild carrot, has always been one of my favourite wildflowers. There are several legends as to how it got its name. Here is one of them.

Queen Anne’s Lace is said to have been named after Queen Anne of England, an expert lace maker. English legend tells us that Queen Anne challenged the ladies of the court to a contest to see who could produce a pattern of lace as lovely as the flower of this plant. No one could rival the queen's handiwork. She however, pricked her finger with a needle and a single drop of blood fell into the lace, that is said to be the dark purple floret in the center of the flower.

Cow Parsnip

There are other wild flowers with white lacy heads that are also members of the carrot family. Cow Parsnip, Water Parsnip and Water Hemlock look quite similar but Hemlock is one of the most poisonous wild plants around.

Angelica Root in March

In March I noticed a large number of purplish roots beginning to sprout near the river's edge.

Angelica

I could not figure out what they were even though I looked in several books and emailed the pictures to a couple of wildflower websites. I have been watching them grow into tall, purple stemmed plants that are six to seven feet tall.

Angelica in bloom in July

They are now in bloom and can be identified as Angelica or Alexanders. This site gives a very interesting account of the history and uses of the plant. Again, one must be careful not to confuse it with Water Hemlock. Angelica stems can be dried and made into musical flutes. If a hemlock stem is mistakenly used as a flute or pea-shooter, the user can be poisoned.

We had a drenching rain shower when I was out with Dakota last evening. After the rain a full rainbow filled the sky. The sun shone on the wet fields and the Queen Anne's Lace glowed beside the fences along with the lilies and phlox.

Queen Anne of England has lost the contest for the most
beautiful handiwork in the kingdom.

12 comments:

  1. One of my favorite flowers is Queen Anne's lace. Does blogger tell you what people search for to find your site? Wordpress does. One searcher was looking for yellow queen anne's lace and found me... the Wild Parsnip...

    Love the rainbow!!!

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  2. I loved this post. Queen Anne's Lace was one of the first wildflowers I learned to identify when I was a child. The closed flowers reminded me of little bird nests, and my mother crocheted delicate lace doilies, so it was easy to remember. Agreed - Queen Anne lost!

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  3. All I can remember about Queen Anne's Lace is that we were told to steer clear of it as it usually had chiggers on it! Ruth, that rainbow photo should be a greeting card! Beautiful!!

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  4. Queen Anne's Lace is fave flower of mine also! I love its one little purple flower! Bravo Flower Friday! Hmm, Maybe I should do one of these today!

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  5. Interesting post, Ruth. The rainbow is WONDERFUL!

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  6. I am intrigued with the photo of Queen Anne's lace budding--it looks like it should flower pink or purple. But then you get this lovely lacely mostly white flower. Nature really is amazing.

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  7. Jennifer- Thanks. Sitemeter lets me know what people search for...that is another story in itself. Yellow Queen Anne's lace, that is an interesting way to describe Wild Parsnip.

    LauraO- Thank you too. The closed flowers do resemble little nests as do lace doilies before they are pressed.

    Jayne- I am not sure what chiggers are. I have heard of them in books,and assume they bite. Queen Anne's Lace does attract a lot of bugs, but they look harmless here.
    The rainbow was a gift after getting soaked in the rain.

    Monarch- The little purple flower is interesting and is the type of things legends are made of. Perhaps I should try eating some of these edible wildflowers and write about that.

    Mary- Thanks...good to see you around.

    KGMom- Not all the budding flowers had pink edges. That one caught my eye because it was different and very pretty.

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  8. Hi Ruth,
    The Queen Anne's Lace I planted in my wildflower garden 2 years ago has blossomed most beautifully this year.

    Your rainbow picture is lovely!

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  9. RuthieJ- does the Queen Anne's Lace spread wildly in the garden? I have a small yard, and it would be neat to have some.

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  10. Lovely, lovely post, Ruth. This plant is one of my favorites for many reasons. I always associate it with the pure, sweet heart of summer.

    You have some precious heirlooms and the memories with which to frame them. Like you - I never learned this art from my grandmother or aunt.

    Your rainbow picture is one of those that I truly wish I'd taken :0) It's beautiful.

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  11. I have loved Queen Anne's Lace since I was a child! The Christian Science Monitor recently published one of my poems entitled, "Queen Anne's Lace" in their July 26, 2007 issue. I think it is still up on their website in the Home Forum section, if you are interested. I am a North Carolina poet, and love writing about nature. Hope everyone has a great day!!

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  12. Hi Terri- Thanks for visiting and commenting. Your poem is lovely. I was looking for an appropriate poem to put with this post and couldn't find one. Yours would have been
    perfect. Here it is...

    Queen Anne's Lace
    By Terri Kirby Erickson

    Queen Anne's lace dandies up
    a ditch, like embroidered hankies
    in a farmer's pocket.
    Such tiny seed-pearl petals
    seem hand-sewn by
    seraphim to their purple
    centers – yet they thrive
    in common places, fine as tatted
    borders blanket-stitched to burlap.

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