Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Queen of Wildflowers

Along with April showers, the month of April also brings a profusion of Queen Anne's Lace to Mississippi's roadsides. I had been looking forward to capturing pictures of the season's first blossoms, so you can imagine my frustration and dismay when I discovered that the huge mowing machines had been at work in my favorite "Queen Anne's Lace-picture-taking-place," and had cut down every single flower!  

Be that as it may, the story has a happy ending.  This past weekend, my husband and I passed by my "Queen Anne's Lace" place and I was delighted to see a sprinkling of little white flowers gracefully blowing in the breeze.  

I couldn't believe they came back, and was bound and determined to capture them in pictures before the mowers leveled them again.

Although they were not as plentiful or as "lush" as I was hoping ... and even though there was a slight breeze stirring amongst the blossoms and the bright mid-morning sunlight was not ideal for taking photos (especially of white flowers) ... I managed to capture a few pictures I felt were worthy of keeping.


I did a little research on Queen Anne's Lace and learned that it originated in Europe, where it was used in old Victorian gardens. It is also known as "Wild Carrot," and can be found growing wild along roadsides almost anywhere in America.

Queen Anne's Lace is best known for its flowers, which are tiny and white, blooming in lacy, flat-topped clusters which resemble little doilies.

 Curiously, at the center of the flower heads there is a tiny floret, which is deep purple in color.

No one knows for sure what the function of the floret might be, but English tradition says it is a drop of blood that fell from Anne's finger when she pricked it making lace. More than likely, the colored flower part serves as a target for potential pollinators.

I found it interesting that some of the flower heads didn't have florets, or at least they weren't easily visible.

Perhaps the flowers weren't as mature as the blooms with the florets.

I was fascinated by the florets and hoped to capture some "up close and personal" pictures of them, in spite of the breeze causing them to sway back and forth on their long, graceful stems.

Some of the florets reminded me of tiny purple rosebuds, and others made me think of miniature butterfly wings.

I was pleased to capture this close-up shot which shows the tiny stem of a floret ...

As with most flowers, I discovered that the underside of Queen Anne's Lace is as beautiful and interesting as the topside ...

Isn't that amazing!

I hope you enjoyed seeing these beautiful wildflowers from a little different perspective, perhaps, than  just seeing them from a car window as you pass them on the side of a road somewhere.  I'm so glad I was able to capture them in pictures, far away from the blades of the mowing machines ... forever preserved in my photo albums, as surely as if they were pressed between the yellowing pages of an old book.


Stacey said...

I'm so glad you posted this today. We are seeing Queen Anne's Lace around here too. I had no idea that little floret is in the middle. I bet you are right and it has to do with attracting pollinators. I will look at them in a new way now.

Your pictures are stunning!

Marlene said...

Your photos are always lovely, but I hold a special place in my heart for those beautiful Queen Anne's Lace. I ordered seed from a lady in Georgia from the Farm Bulletin and grew them for many years. Wish I still had the space to try them again. So enjoyed seeing yours. Thank you!

Sue said...

Beautiful photography, Janie, absolutely stunning. I tried growing Queen Anne's Lace, but didn't have much luck. It looks stunning placed among flower arrangement. Thanks for sharing, enjoy your day.

Pat said...


I love the way you SEE the beauty all around us and from many different perspectives.

That was an unusual little bird; I don't think we see him here in Florida.

I especially liked your shot of the flowers up against the barbed-wire fence ... so beautiful! All beautiful photos!

Pat in Tallahassee

Jenni said...

Janie, Those are some Gorgeous photos... we have some of it in profusion around here, too.... I never thought of it looking like a doilie, though, IT DOES! and I didn't know about the purple floret, either...Amazing!


Richard Cottrell said...

I love Queen Ann's lace. It is so wonderful how it just pops up year after year. You are ahead of us. Ours does not bloom till latter in the summer. I am glad to get a sneak peak by your pictures. I call the orange lilies church lilies. Seems like they were planted at every rural church and have spread there way around the country. I like them, but I have a patch in the side yard that will not be controlled. I dig and idg and they still multiply like crazy. Loved your post as usual. Richard