Queen Anne's Lace is the wild progenitor of the modern cultivated carrot. The
root is edible, cooked or raw. The flower clusters can be fried. The seeds can
be used as a flavouring in stews and soups. The dried roasted roots are ground
into a powder and are used for making coffee.
QAL is a biennial, but modern cultivars are annuals. They all have the same botanical name - Daucas carota.
Propagate by seed sown in situ, in spring to late summer. The seed germinates better if it is given a period of cold stratification. The plant will self-seed readily and can quickly become a weed. Grows in full sun and fairly dry conditions, and will grow in poor soils, but does best in neutral to alkaline soil.
Harvest the entire plant in summer, or when flowers bloom, and dry for later use. Collect the roots and edible shoots in spring when tender. Gather seed in autumn.
The root is used to treat spasmodic vomiting, flatulence and nervous headaches. It can also be used to treat gallstones and kidney stones, water retention, and sprains. It has been used in the treatment of Alzheimerís Disease, Crohnís Disease, Parkinsonís Disease, cystitis, prostatitis, infertility, to prevent asthma, migraine headaches, delayed menstruation. An infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed. The seeds can be used as a settling carminative agent for the relief of flatulence and colic. The seed is a traditional 'morning after' contraceptive and there is some evidence to uphold this belief. Grated wild carrot can be used for healing external wounds and internal ulcers. The thick sap is used as a remedy for cough and congestion. A warm water infusion of the flowers has been used in the treatment of diabetes.
Warning: The plant resembles several others which may be poisonous, including Hemlock and Foolís Parsley. Do not use when pregnant, as it is a uterine stimulant. Its reliability as a contraceptive is uncertain.
Note: To distinguish Queen Anne's Lace from Hemlock or Fool's Parsley: Queen Anne's lace has one single blue/purple flower in the centre of the flower cluster, the root has a carrot smell and it prefers a dry growing environment. Poison Hemlock and Fools Parsley are found in wet areas.