cut flower of the month
queen anne’s lace
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Ammi majus (AM-mee MAY-jus)
False Queen Anne’s lace, Bishop’s weed, Bullwort, Lace flower,
Note: In the
commercial floral industry, Ammi majus is commonly, but
incorrectly, called Queen Anne’s lace—which is the common name
of a close relative, Daucus carota. (See “Fun Facts”/Twin
Queen Anne’s lace features large (up to 6 inches in diameter, or
larger) branching umbels that comprise masses of tiny white
flowers atop long (24-36 inch), ferny-leaved stems. The
umbelliferous flower heads have a lacy appearance.
When mature, Queen Anne’s lace flowers are typically white, but
green and greenish-white varieties have been introduced.
Queen Anne’s lace flowers are relatively short-lived: Consumers
can generally expect three to five days of vase life. When the
flowers are displayed in warm, dry environments, the tiny blooms
tend to drop quickly. However, when these flowers are purchased
at the perfect stage of maturity, given proper care, displayed
in an ideal environment and cut short, they can last from seven
to 14 days.
As a commercially cultivated crop, Queen Anne’s lace is
available year-round from both domestic and foreign growers;
however, its natural season is late winter and spring
Remove Queen Anne’s lace from the shipping boxes immediately
upon arrival (these flowers are highly susceptible to water
Check flower quality, then
remove any packaging and stem bindings, as well as any leaves
that would be under water in storage containers.
Rinse stems under tepid running water, then recut them with a
sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately after
cutting, dip or place stem ends into a hydration solution
(particularly important with Queen Anne’s lace), to help the
flowers absorb water more quickly and easily.
Finally, place the stems into clean, disinfected containers half
filled with warm (100 F to 110 F), properly proportioned
After processing, place these flowers into a floral cooler at 37
F to 40 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours
before using or selling them. (These flowers also can tolerate
temperatures ranging from 33 F to 36 F.) Relative humidity of 90
percent in the cooler is ideal.
Queen Anne’s lace is sensitive to ethylene gas, so make sure
your purchases are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the
grower level or during transportation, and keep them away from
sources of ethylene (fruit, cigarette smoke and vehicle
exhaust). Exposure to ethylene gas accelerates premature flower
Recut stems, wash containers and change flower-food solution
every other day to prevent bacteria buildup and keep nutrient
solution flowing up the stems.
For maximum vase life, buy
Queen Anne’s lace when outer florets show color but
before the flowers have opened.
Check closely for damaged
florets, rot and yellow foliage (a sign of age or
Make sure stems are strong
enough to support the flower heads.
Hold bunches upside-down,
and shake gently to check for petal drop.
Ammi is a member of the Umbelliferae/Apiaceae
(parsley/carrot) family, which also comprises blue lace flower (Trachymene/Didiscus)
and sea holly (Eryngium). Other family members include
carrot, parsnip, celery, parsley, dill, chervil, fennel, caraway
Daucus carota, commonly (and correctly) known as “Queen
Anne’s lace” and “wild carrot,” is similar in appearance to A. majus. It is not cultivated as a cut flower but is often found
growing abundantly along roadsides and riverbanks and in fields
and wetlands during the summer.
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A. majus is native to the Mediterranean region, including
northeast Africa, southern Europe and western Asia.
Sap exuding from stem ends
can cause skin irritations (contact dermatitis) with some
people, so it may prove beneficial to wear gloves when handling
these flowers. Advise customers of this risk, as well.
Some information provided
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network®,
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey