When I was recently down at the beach, I was specifically looking for a Western honey bee pollinating a invasive plant species. Yesterday, I posted an introduced Butterfly bush but I had lots of choices because the beachfront is full of invasive species. I took these photos of Queen Anne’s lace but when I looked at them later, I discovered another introduced species, the red soldier beetle. Both the plant and the beetle are European imports introduced in historical times and now found throughout North America.
The Wikipedia entry on this beetle is hilarious. Not only is this species known as the ‘hogweed bonking beetle’ in Britain but it goes on to say; “The adults, which are active between the months of June and August, spend much of their short lives mating and can often be seen in pairs.”
As you can see, I caught these two in the midst of an ‘amorous embrace’. I want to reassure you that I didn’t intend on an X-rated photograph but I’ll have to be more careful in future. Otherwise Tumblr may put a Parental Guidance warning on my blog.
Prime example of one the ways to positively identify Queen Anne's lace (wild carrot) apart from several "look alike's" such as poison hemlock, which can be deadly. See that one pinprick of red blood flower in the dead center of the flat capped white flower head?
The story goes that Queen Anne was an expert lace maker, hence the beautifully intricate flower pattern. One day, she pricked her finger and a single drop of blood fell to the center of her lace. Hence a positive identification here-- blood in the center.
Another way to identify is that under her dress, queen Anne had very hairy legs; queen Anne's lace, the plant, will have short and bristly hairs along the stem after the "bodice" of the plant. A secondary identification.
Don't consume or play with plants you can't positively identify. And always, always be careful with carrot look alikes