Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota)

Amur maple leaves are longer than they are wide.

Queen Anne's (Daucus carota) lace may have arrived in the U.S. as a seed contaminant in grain and through planting in gardens. It invades disturbed dry prairies, abandoned fields, waste places, and roadsides. Queen Anne's lace is a threat to recovering grasslands.

Warning: Avoid skin contact with the toxic sap of the plant by wearing gloves, long sleeves and long pants. Queen Anne's lace also looks very similar to hemlock species that can be deadly if ingested.

Description

Appearance

Queen Anne's lace is an herbaceous plant that can grow 3-4 feet tall. In its first year, it has only low-lying leaves coming from the base of the plant (basal rosette). The second year the plant will grow a tall stalk, then flower, set seed, and die. Each plant has one or several hairy hollow stems, growing from one central stem, each with an umbrella-shaped flower cluster at the top. The plant smells like a carrot as it is the ancestor of the garden carrot.

Leaves and Stem

Leaves are arranged alternately along the stem, starting immediately below the flower, and increasing in size down the stem. Leaflets are arranged on both sides of a common stalk (pinnately divided).

Flowers

Compound, flat-topped umbrella-shaped flowers called umbels (small umbels within a large umbel) become concave when mature. They bloom from May through October. After the flowering head dries up, it can look like a small bird's nest.

Seeds

Queen Anne's lace has barbed small seeds that promote dispersal by animals and wind. Its seeds stay viable in the soil for one to two years.

Roots

The slender, woody taproot smells like a carrot.

Biology

Queen Anne's lace is often found in disturbed areas, including along roadsides, right-of-ways, abandoned fields, and forest edges. It does not do well in shaded habitats. This plant typically has a two-year life cycle. First-year plants are a clump of low-lying leaves called a basal rosette. In their second year, plants grow a tall stalk, flower, set seed, and die.

Origin and Spread

Queen Anne's lace is native to Europe and Asia. It is also known as wild carrot as it is the parent of the cultivated varieties of carrots we have today. Wild carrot should not be eaten. Queen Anne's lace may have arrived in the U.S. as a seed contaminant in grain and through planting in gardens. More recently, Queen Anne's lace used to be sold in "wildflower mixes" which also spread it to new areas in the U.S. Selling Queen Anne's lace is now prohibited in Minnesota.

Refer to the Queen Anne's lace EDDMapS Distribution Map for current distribution.

Don't be fooled by these look-alikes

There are many plants in the carrot family in Minnesota, some of which are deadly poisonous.
  • Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum (invasive) – 3-8 feet tall, stems have purple splotches.
  • Spotted waterhemlock, Cicuta maculata (native) – leaves are not as finely divided as Queen Anne's lace.
  • Sweet cicely, Osmorhiza claytonii (native) – small plants less than 2 feet high, flowers in small clusters of four to seven flowers.
  • Erect and spreading hedge parseley, Torilis japonica (invasive) – wild carrot has showy bracts underneath the flower umbels while hedge parsley has small bracts.
 
Regulatory Classification

Queen Anne's lace is a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Restricted Noxious Weed meaning it is illegal to import, sell, or transport. 

Threat to Minnesota
  • It invades disturbed dry prairies, abandoned fields, waste places, and roadsides. It is a threat to recovering grasslands and can be persistent on clay soils, but it tends to decline as native grasses and herbaceous plants become established.
What you should do

One way that invasive plant seeds and fragments can spread is in soil.  Sometimes plants are planted purposefully.  You can prevent the spread of invasive plants.

PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks

  • REMOVE plants, animals & mud from boots, gear, pets & vehicle.
  • CLEAN your gear before entering & leaving the recreation site.
  • STAY on designated roads & trails.
  • PLANT non-invasive species.
Native Substitutes
 
Control Methods

Mechanical control can be done by cutting, mowing or pulling the plant before seed is present in mid-summer.

Herbicide control can be done using 2,4-D or 2,4-D formulations with dicamba or triclopyr. Apply herbicides to the seedling or rosette stages from mid-May to mid-October.

Reporting

Report new occurrences by submitting a report through EDDMapS Midwest, emailing Arrest The Pest, calling Arrest the Pest (1-888-545-6684), or contacting your local county agricultural inspector.

Resources