Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wild Edibles #5 Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot

Disclaimer: Some wild plants are not only edible but delicious. Other wild plants will kill you if you eat them. Be absolutely certain what a plant is before you eat it. Plant varieties differ from region to region. When in doubt, consult a local expert.

There are at least two species of Queen Anne's Lace in the United States. One is native and one was imported from Europe. Both varieties are also known as Wild Carrot. Wild carrot is a biannual plant. This means that it produces flowers and seed in the second year. The first year wild carrot is characterized by small growth. In Queen Anne's Lace early stages of growth it is very difficult to tell apart from a garden carrot. The fern like leaves when crushed smell just like carrots. In the second year Wild Carrot can grow to about 4 foot in height and has a very characteristic umbrella shaped flower head.

Caution: There is a poisonous plant that looks very similar to Queen Anne's Lace. It is called Poison Hemlock. A small amount can kill a full grown man. Here are this things to consider when trying to tell them apart. One. Wild Carrot has fine little hairs all up and down the stem. If the plant you are looking at does not have these hairs leave it alone. Two. Every part of the Wild Carrot smells like a carrot. You can roll the leaves in your hand, if it smells really bad it is poison DO NOT LICK YOUR HAND!!!!!!! Wash your hands well as soon as you can.

As Food

Nearly every part of this plant is edible. The only part of this plant that is not edible is the stem. The root of the wild carrot is most tender in the first year. During the second year it develops a woody core, which must be cut out for best eating. The second year even after the woody parts are cut out the root is still very tough, cooking can make the root more palatable. The root can be used is stews, soups, or even just boiled. If you have really tough teeth you can eat the root raw.

The leaves can also be eaten raw or cooked, and can be used in all the ways garden carrots greens can. Oh in case you didn't know you can eat the greens of garden carrots as well. The tops of the wild carrot can be eaten in a couple of ways. The tops when fresh can be deep fried or sauteed. As the flower matures it closes up and resembles a bird's nest. The bird's nest is this plants way of protecting the seeds. The dried seeds can be used to add a carrot like flavor to many dishes.

As Medicine

Again every part of this plant can be used for medicinal purposes. The leaves and root of Queen Anne's Lace can be dried and used as a tea that has been used to treat kidney problems including kidney stones, bladder problems, water retention, and to reduce uric acid a primary cause of gout.

Oil from the seeds has been used to treat severe diarrhea, indigestion, and intestinal gas. Seed oil has also been historically used by women to help start menstruation.  

There have been records of this plant being used to treat heart disease, cancer, internal parasites, to calm the nerves, and heck a tea made from the dried leaves has even been used as an aphrodisiac. 

NOTICE According to the Carrot Museum the seeds of Queen Anne's Lace should not be used by pregnant women.

Below is the YouTube video on Queen Anne's Lace 

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Other Posts in this Series: #1 Wood Sorrel#2 Wild Strawberry and WoodberryWild Edibles #3 Dove's Foot Geranium, #4 Broadleaf Plantain