The fields are covered in the lacey white swirls of Queen Anne’s Lace. This wildflower is also called the “Wild Carrot,” and it has a white, edible taproot. In fact, the orange carrots that fill the farmers’ market stands and grocery stores are descendents of Queen Anne’s Lace. But while the roots of the wild carrot are edible, the leaves are poisonous (Queen Anne’s Lace also closely resembles the toxic Water Hemlock, so we don’t advise trying to eat them).
At our farm, we encourage the growth of wildflowers like Queen Anne’s Lace because of the food and habitat that they provide for wildlife. Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies, honey bees, bumblebees, grasshoppers, and other insects all rely on Queen Anne’s Lace for food. Predatory insects like the Green Lacewing (which eats aphids) visit the flowers to eat pest insects, which is why many people plant Queen Anne’s Lace in their gardens. The roots also help anchor the soil in place to prevent erosion in our tree fields. The best part is – we don’t need to plant and take care of them!