Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide

Beautiful wild carrot flowers (Daucus carota) delight me and inspired me to write this song! Wild carrot is a wonderful, summery, coastal flower with a particular story and mythology attached to it which I explain below. I also love its shape, colours and subtle scent in the summer breeze.

Wild Carrot is also one of the wild foods in Wild Food Foraging book, where I describe how to identify and use it, with recipes and photos.

Words of the 1st verse and chorus of my Wild Carrot song

Spot of blood, on her dress
It was white, what a mess!
Lace of course, green below
Made of grass, what a show!

Ooooh, o-o-o-ooh- oo
Ooooh, o-o-o-ooh Wild Carrot

Wild carrot on a foraging course in Cornwall

The story of Wild Carrot aka Queen Anne's Lace

Wild carrot is also sometimes known as Queen Anne's Lace, referring to the pattern of the flowers being reminiscent of a beautiful lace. There are a few stories relating to this.

1. Queen Anne was sewing lace and pricked her finger - describing the red spot that is sometimes present in the centre of wild carrot flowers.

2. Queen Anne of Boleyn (the second of King Henry V111 wives), was beheaded, hence the spot of blood, or even the splattering of pink across some, often younger, wild carrot flowers.

It is unclear the exact origin of the name, and indeed which Queen Anne is being referred to. Perhaps Anne (1574 - 1619) who was of Dannish origin who married King James of Scotland. Otherwise Anne (1665 - 1714), the daughter of William and Mary, and the last monarch in the Stuart line. Maybe it was Anne Boleyn (1501-1536), who was Queen of England for just 3 years before she was beheaded for treason and other charges.

Wild carrot on a foraging course in Cornwall

Characteristics of Wild Carrot flowers

Wild carrot is a member of the Umbellifer or Umbelliferae family, also known as Apiaceae or Carrot family. Within this family are some wonderful edibles such as parsley, coriander, celery, alexanders, rock samphire and common hogweed. There are also some deadly members such as hemlock water dropwort, so correct identification is essential.

The carrot flowers have a grass 'skirt' below the spokes of the flowerhead. It is this that I refer to in the song. I've often thought is would make a wonderful, theatrical dress - an ornate, lacy dress with a grass skirt below. What do you think?!

P.s Can you hear the pheasant chick in the bakcground of the video?

Homemade stuffing with wild ingredients

Oooh! I'm hooked on making stuffing at the moment. This version has a slightly perfumed, cumin-like addition from the wild carrot seeds. It also incorporates further seasonal wild greens available here in Cornwall in winter.

So if you're looking for a different twist on stuffing read on...

Wild carrot seeds is one of the wild foods I cover in my Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly book. They should be avoided if pregnant.

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