Queen Ann's Lace
Inside the Outdoors, July 28,

Caution: If you are a fisher and planning to fish in and about the Loyalhanna Creek, be careful. The rocks and the bottom are very slippery in places. I heard tell recently that an angler slipped on a rock, falling and injuring his shoulder quite severely. Be very careful if you plan to fish this body of water.

Also I got reports that muskie are hitting top water lures on the Allegheny River and bass are being caught in the Loyalhanna.

And now on to today’s column…

We all know that Queen Ann’s Lace has always been considered as a weed. But really, I like to call it a summer flower that grows in the wild. It can be found along roads, highways and bike trails. It grows up embankments, where people have disturbed the earth, and the soil is not very rich.

It is found throughout the USA. It does well in wet muggy summers in New England, and also in the dry summers of California.

This plant can grow six to seven feet and can stretch out its stems to width of five to six feet. It feels the warm radiant rays of the suns and enjoys it as much in the shade.

Queen Ann’s Lace belongs to the same family of the carrot. Its root smells just like vegetable. A matter of fact, the Romans ate it as a vegetable. This plant is visited by lots of insects including honeybees, ladybugs and ants.

Various stages of blossoming exist. First there is the budding to a wide-open flat flower, to umbrella shaped flowers to flowers closing up and making a tight nest-like shape where seeds are forming. “When the blossoms begin to open, they may have a pink tinge,” stated Theresa Roach Melia from the website www.flowersociety.org. Queen Ann’s Lace adult flowers have a flat-topped white umbel resembling lace.

“Not all of the blossoms, but most of the blossoms, have at the center of the flower face, a tiny flower of dark purple, light purple or pink. It is a feature that has fascinated me since childhood. Apparently this flower is infertile,” she said.

Queen Ann’s lace flowers are fragrant, delicate and sweet; yet the fragrance is totally absent in some flowers. The flower is actually a collection of many flowers. The face of this flower can be eight to nine inches.

The author stated, “The flowers which grow on the larger stems, and which are at the periphery of a large flower face, grow long petals; as if they feel they have space to reach out into the space around them. These larger petals at the periphery enhance the impression of lace.

Its name was derived from a legend that tells of Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) prickling her finger and a drop of blood landed on white lace she was sewing.

If one plans to pick some, it is advised that clippers be used.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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