Friday, August 3, 2007

Herbal Profile: Wild Carrot (Queen Anne's Lace)

The more I garden, the more interested I become in the useful properties of the plants I see. As a way to organize the information that I find, as well as to share it with whomever may be interested, I'm going to do periodic herbal profiles of plants detailing their culinary, medicinal, and other uses.

Wild Carrot, Queen Anne's Lace
Daucus carota

Queen Anne's Lace is native to Europe and Southwest Asia. It was brought over to the United States during early colonization and now can be found throughout most of the continent. Its seeds are spread by the wind and the plant is quite prolific and difficult to eradicate.

Quick Facts:
  • In Britain, it is commonly known as Bird's Nest.
  • The common carrot that we eat was domesticated from this wild species.
  • The tiny red or black flower in the middle of the cluster is sterile. Its purpose is unknown but may have to do with pollination.
Important: Queen Anne's Lace bears some resemblance to several poisonous plants, including a few varieties of hemlock. To make sure you've got the correct plant, look for a hairy stalk and a carroty smell when a part of the plant is crushed (especially the roots).

Culinary: The root of the wild carrot is edible, particularly when young. Recipes for Queen Anne's Lace Jelly and Wild Carrot Cake (as well as a method of making paper from the roots) can be found here.

Medicinal: The Wild Carrot has been used as a contraceptive, somewhat in the style of the morning after pill, for over 2000 years. The flowers and seeds can be consumed by themselves, or made into a tincture or tea. Detailed information can be found here.

According to Alternative Nature, "A medicinal infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, (soothes the digestive tract), kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys. A wonderfully cleansing medicinal herb, 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."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Positive Review :)

Farmer's Market Flowers

An impromptu trip to the Farmer's Market with Linzie, new housemate Andrew, and his delightful girl, Emily, resulted in some new flower purchases. Two pots of Yarrow, two of Foxglove, and three Dwarf Sunflowers, all for $25!

I put the three Sunflowers all in one big pot on the deck. The Yarrow and the Foxglove went in right around it. Here's the sunflowers, note the cute Teddy Bear Sunflower in the middle. :)

The pre-shots:

And the flowers. The bell-like flowers are the Foxglove, and the smaller flowers are the Yarrow. As with the rocks used for the herb garden, the rocks in this garden were liberated from the parking lot of Raf's studio building when they were landscaping and turning them up:


After so much gardening, I thought it was time to start making a garden log. Or...a garden blog!

These past few days I've been getting at least a little done each day and it's been very satisfying. Here's some recent work I've done, beginning with some homemade edging for my herb garden:

Some weeding on the side of the house. More has since been done and the roses there seem like they're doing well:

And a very cool grasshopper/locust guy I found: