The wild carrot (Daucus carota) is a common plant of our cliff tops and of chalk grassland. It has a lovely domed flower head that consists of lots of small florets, a bit like a cauliflower!
When they first come out they often have a small reddish patch at the centre and the country name for the plant is Queen Anne's Lace, the flowers looking like lace and the small reddish spot in the middle looking like a small patch of blood where the lace maker pricked their finger with their needle! Queen Anne was a renowned lace maker.
True to its name of wild carrot the root of the plant is edible just like the cultivated variety however, it is only palatable whilst young. The rest of the plant is less so and can cause upset if eaten. Many members of the carrot family, notably the hemlock, are of course poisonous and so collecting wild carrot for food is possibly not a good idea unless one is very sure of what one is doing.
Flowering from June until August this is another umbellifer that is very popular with insects of all kinds and is a good hunting ground for insect photographers.Wild Carrot: Queen Annes Lace