Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Queen Anne

Anticipation of things to come. Queen Anne's Lace, Norfolk Botanical Garden
(Click picture to enlarge)
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"Verde que te quiero verde. Verde viento. Verde ramas."
(Green I love you green. Green Wind. Green branches.)
~ Federico Garcia Lorca, 1899-1936
Queen Anne was tatting lace and the delicate white threads transformed into those of the wild carrot, thus Queen Anne's Lace. The disagreement comes as to which Queen Anne did such lovely tatting. Some say it was Anne (1574 - 1619), the first Stuart Queen Anne, who was brought over from Denmark at fourteen years of age to be a Queen to King James of Scotland. Others think it was Anne (1665 - 1714), who became Queen after the reign of William and Mary, who had no children. She was Mary's sister and while she had fourteen children, all died in infancy and childhood, so she was the last of the Stuart monarchs. I prefer to think of Queen Anne as this later lady because my daughter graduated from the College of William and Mary that was started by an endowment from King William in 1693 making it the second university chartered in the colonies (second only to Harvard). Queen Anne's picture hangs in one of the buildings there.

Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota), is a biennial plant living for two years. The first year is spent in putting down roots and growing, up to 4 feet tall; the second year produces the lacy white flowers. It blooms from May to October and provides food for the caterpillars of the Black Swallowtail butterfly. Lacewings arrive to eat the aphids that love this plant, birds eat the seed and hide in the foliage. In the picture above, the plant has flowered and the fruit/seeds have curled inward to form the "birdnest" configuration that gives this plant another nickname... the Birdnest Plant.

The root of Queen Anne's Lace is edible but said to be white and almost tasteless. But be careful about the leaves and flowers... some have used the flowers to make tea; but BEWARE... Queen Anne's Lace looks almost identical to a close relative... Water Hemlock... and the flowers of that plant are deadly. Remember how they got rid of Socrates with Hemlock tea?

I love the curled in configuration and the green, lush foliage and the fact that the Black Swallowtails love this and just perhaps they might spread the wealth (eggs) and leave me a little fennel to use in cooking. So, I plan to sow some of these seeds out in the back, behind the fence in the wild preserve and give the bugs and birds much to play with. This will be another "branched" entry for Carmi's theme this week as well as another example of my stubborn determination to hold tightly to all things green and glorious.

(end of post)
Carmi's Theme ~ "branched"


sandra said...

this is really an awesome shot of the queen anne, who knew the back side could be so lovely. i like the curves and shading. beautiful

Ginny Hartzler said...

Queen Anne's Lace is fascinating when you are up close to it. I did a post on it this summer. When they are closed up, they look like woven baskets, Then they open, such an intricate process!! Your snap shows the part that most people pay no attention to, but it has a beauty all it's own.

MMP said...

oh my word~~glorious~~

Michelle From Rambling Woods said...

I too love the plants and even when they get dried  up, but I don't have a macro as good as this one. Beautiful!

Carmi said...

I'm glad you're stubbornly determined to capture green in all its glory, because it doesn't get more glorious than this. I gasped when it first loaded. Seriously, you have a gift.