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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Royal Buds

Everywhere I look when I drive around now, I see tons of Queen Anne's Lace blooming. It has officially come into season.

This plant is was brought to the northeastern North America from Europe, where it goes by a name closer to it's Latin Roots: Daucua Carota - Wild Carrot.

Yeah! Apparently the taproot of the plant is edible while young, but quickly becomes inedible and "woody". It's really interesting to think that all our modern carrots have been selectively cultivated from something people usually consider a weed.

Carrot Flowers for Comparison

Queen Anne's Lace seeds have also been prescribed as holistic birth control since the Age of Pericles. It blocks the synthesis of every girl's favorite hormone, progesterone.


But before you go off nomming on wild carrot seeds, make sure you're not accidentally nomming Poison Hemlock, cuz they look really similar. OK?

Poison Hemlock for Comparison

But then all this talk about Queen Anne's Lace got me wondering. Who is this Queen Anne lady anyway?

Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of England in 1590 in what some would consider a very sexy coronation ceremony:

"During the seven-hour ceremony, her gown was opened by the Countess of Mar for presiding minister Robert Bruce to pour "a bonny quantity of oil" on "parts of her breast and arm," so anointing her as queen. (Kirk ministers had objected vehemently to this element of the ceremony as a Pagan and Jewish ritual, but James (VI and I, her husband) insisted that it dated from the Old Testament.)"

She is remembered as a somewhat inconsequential historical figure, known best for being a patron of the arts and for throwing kick ass masques. Her harshest critic is the 20th century biographer who wrote "Alas! The king had married a stupid wife." Ouch!

She beget Charles I, who was executed during the English Civil War, and died of dropsy at the age of 44.

There are a few rumors about why this plant is named after her, including that she held a contest to see if anybody could duplicate the floral pattern. Some plants sport a small red flower in the center of all the white, which supposedly represents where she pricked her finger while making lace.


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