Queen Anne’s Lace - In the Wild - October

Plant Magic: A Year of Green Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans - Sandra Kynes 2017

Queen Anne’s Lace
In the Wild

(Daucus carota)

*Also known as bird’s nest weed, devil’s plague, and wild carrot

Introduced into North America from Europe, Queen Anne’s lace is a familiar sight in fields, ditches, and open areas. Growing one to four feet tall, it has feathery leaves and wide, flat umbels of tiny white flowers that bloom from May to October. Each umbel has a dark reddish-purple floret at the center. After its seeds set, the umbel curls up and inward, forming a cup that resembles a bird’s nest.

Be careful not to confuse Queen Anne’s lace with the poisonous water hemlock (Cicuta maculata) and fool’s parsley (Aethusa cynapium). The distinguishing feature of Queen Anne’s lace is the reddish-purple spot at the center of the flower head.

The root, which is much smaller than today’s cultivated carrot, was a common food in ancient Greece and Rome. In the Middle Ages it was believed that the boiled flowers could be used for a love potion. In the sixteenth century Queen Anne’s lace was introduced into Great Britain, where the flowers and leaves became popular hair accessories. This plant’s common name comes from the story that Queen Anne of England (1665—1714) pricked her finger while sewing and a drop of blood landed in the center of her white lace. Finding this plant almost impossible to remove from fields because of its deep root, farmers called it devil’s plague.

Make an infusion of leaves and add it to a purification bath before performing spells for love, fertility, or virility. If any flowers are still available, use them to decorate your altar for attraction spells as well as esbat rituals, or use the leaves and “birds nest” seed heads. Also use the seed heads in spells to increase fertility. Wrap a dried root in lace and put it under your pillow to enhance dream work or to encourage prophetic dreams.