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Weeds are superevolutionary products of human civilizations and activities - without humans there would be no weeds, just wild plants.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life Versus Death

Daucus carota, also known as wild carrot, bird’s nest, bishop’s lace, and Queen Anne’s lace, is a flowering plant native to Europe and southwest Asia, and naturalized to North America and Australia. While the carrots that we eat are domesticated versions of this species, Queen Anne’s lace bears an almost indistinguishable resemblance to a highly deadly plant, the poison hemlock. What’s worse, they’re often found in similar environments: dry meadows, roadsides, hiking trails, ditches, and deserted uncultivated waste areas. Poison hemlock and Queen Anne’s lace belong to the same family: Apiaceae or Umbelliferae, along with dill and parsley.

poison hemlock

Queen Anne's lace

The similarity in their appearances has led to some accidental poisonings (as Queen Anne's lace is used in all sorts of foods), and so being able to identify them and avoid accidental ingestion is very important. Queen Anne’s lace is distinguished by fine hairs on its solid green stem and on its leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red or purple flower in the center of the umbel (inflorescence which consists of a number of short flower stalks which spread from a common point like umbrella ribs).  

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