A drop of blood on the lace

Back in July I took a photograph of a wild carrot flower (Daucus carota) that had one red flowerlet in the flower head.

Daucus carota in the woods

I loved to see the rebel standing out amongst all of the pure white wild carrot flowers.  I kept my eye out for more variation in the sea of pure white heads.

Completely white flower head

My single red floweret was definitely unusual.

Sole red flowerlet

Then I wondered why?  Was it a genetic mutation about to take over the white Daucus carota world?

After my last post I wondered if it harboured an alien invader.  Perhaps it had some mysterious mosaic virus but it really looked too healthy and the colouration wasn’t streaky.

I looked it up in Wikipedia which brought me back to reality.  It is a natural variant although the red flower/all white flower proportion seems to vary from area to area.  Daucus carota has even a common name, Queen Anne’s Lace (Queen Anne being the wife of James VI of Scotland) because of the flower’s lacy appearance.  The little red flowerlet is the drop of blood that was spilt when the queen pricked her finger whilst making the lace, according to the legend.

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15 thoughts on “A drop of blood on the lace

  1. I like your loyalty to your Scotish roots, for other readers she was wife of James the 1st of the United countries of England, Scotland and Ireland. Very pretty flower and well observed it must have been difficult to see in a sea of plants. Christina

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  2. That’s a beautiful example of the red flower. It is occasionally present here, mostly more brown than red, but I had never noticed it until I came to Germany. (When I saw one the first time I thought it was a piece of dirt and tried to pick it off!) Really lovely photo – I love the way the flowerheads then curl in on themselves after flowering.

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    • Interesting that there is a colour change towards brown in Germany. Wiki suggested that it was red to attract insects but I personally did not buy that as the white umbelliferes are always full of insects.

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  3. I have seen a lot of Queen Anne’s lace here in the US (it is categorized as an invasive weed), but have never observed that red variant. It might be there, and I just never saw it — but I will pay more close attention now. Thanks for the information.

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