Flower Glossary: Queen Anne’s Lace

Design*Sponge Flower Glossary | Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s lace will forever remind me of field hockey. Growing up, I would spend the end of each summer practicing with our school’s field hockey team for the coming season. After finishing a set of sprints, we would each collapse into the grass and await further running punishment. While everyone else was drinking water, I would pick Queen Anne’s lace out of the field and tie them into tiny bouquets to leave on the ground. I should have realized then that my future had more to do with flowers and less to do with competitive sports, but those moments were always some of my favorite. Now, whenever I see Queen Anne’s lace in a field or on the side of the road, I’m tempted to stop and make a tiny bouquet.

Named after both Queen Annes (Great Britain and Denmark), Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) was named because of its resemblance to lace. The story behind the red dot in the center of most of the flowering heads is said to be the blood from Queen Anne’s finger after she cut herself making the lace. Sewing injuries aside, I think this is one of the sweetest and most delicate things you can use for arrangements. Daucus carota is (as its full name suggests) actually the flowering top of a wild carrot plant. Sadly, the carrot itself has a short life span for eating (it quickly gets too tough and woody to consume), but the flowering portion still has a faint carrot smell after cutting. Alone or in a group, these lacy beauties are definitely worth picking up when you spot them at your local florist. If you find them in a wild (and have permission to cut them), just be sure to check for ticks – they often find homes among the flower heads. xo, grace

*You can read even more about Queen Anne’s lace (and get some arranging ideas) right here in Sarah’s Flowers A to Z post.

  1. hannah nunn says:

    Its such a beautiful flower and has inspired so many designers. Its my best selling lamp and wallpaper design. Nice to find out a little about it’s history. X

  2. Kandy says:

    Thank you so much for this! My grandmother said that Queen Anne’s Lace was her favorite flower and I realized recently because it was what we always picked and brought to her with our grubby little hands.

  3. Katie says:

    Ahhhh, I love Queen Anne’s lace! We have fantastic perennial flower beds in our current house, and I accidentally/on purpose allowed some Queen Anne’s lace to drop its seeds in a few spots. It is starting to take over a bit, and I don’t mind, but now we’re moving, so I hope the new homeowners will embrace the lace!

  4. Emily Mc says:

    We used these in our wedding arrangements and they were gorgeous, it was the first flower I told my planner I wanted.

  5. Maggie says:

    This is my favorite column on Design Sponge. Thank you for your insight, Grace. I have a list of lovely flowers I need to pick up this weekend thanks to you.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      thanks, maggie!


  6. They are not only beautiful but very desirable in an organic garden. Their tiny flowers are magnets for small predatory insects, like the tiny pirate bug, which will devour your aphids and other pests in no time.

    Happy Spring!

  7. Jill says:

    Queen Anne’s lace always remind me of trips to the zoo in summer. I always loved the beautiful perennial beds; my mom, who preferred her formal roses, thought they were weeds.

  8. Ann says:

    This is a beautiful and easy to grow flower, but – MAN – I’ve never been able to rid it of all the tiny tiny bugs it seems to always be infested with. I’ve tried to pick it in the wild in multiple states, but it always has a bunch of tiny bugs (not just ticks) crawling out of the tiny flowers. I’ve occasionally used it as a patio arrangement or something, but I wouldn’t bring it inside my house unless it was grown in a controlled setting.

  9. Melissa says:

    I love queen anne’s lace. I foraged it off the side of the road and used as part of my wedding flowers (I grew the rest!)

  10. Sonja B. says:

    I love Queen Anne’s lace. I also love this fabric by Lauren Liess a designer who designs a textile line: http://www.laurenliess.com/shop/designer-fabrics/queen-annes-bouquet. Keep thinking I need to order some of this fabric for summer pillows.

  11. James says:

    Queen Anne’s Lace always remind of summer is half over in Minnesota and to start making vacation plans with the remaining days of summer. I like their intricate flowers and a field of them looks like a fleet of flying saucers ! One of my favorite wild flowers along with the Indian Paint Brush.

  12. Anna says:

    I just received some Queen Anne’s Lace in a floral arrangement and came across this discussion wondering why on earth a reputable florist would use a very common allergen in an otherwise beautiful floral arrangement. What a disaster. Next: goldenrod and deactivated poison ivy.


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