Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Queen Anne's Lace Followup--A Year Later

or Not What Was Expected

Last year during one of my second looks, I was very excited because I found a Queen Anne's Lace with a black dot in the middle. It was the first one I had seen, and I learned that legend said that the dot represented a drop of Queen Anne's blood from a prick she got while making lace. I thought I had found something interesting and unusual, but for my friend, it was old hat. She said that all of the flowers she had seen had black dots. She didn't know that they came any other way.

The difference in our experiences made me curious, so I did an informal research project . There was no clear conclusion for the different blooms except from a Virginia Tech weed identification site. It said that during the second year of blooming (they are biennials),  the flower develops the spot. To test this, last year I counted the dotted and non-dotted flowers in my yard, and this year I counted them again.

What did I find? Last year I found 11 flowers with spots and 29 without. This year I found 5 with spots and 24 without. This is not what was expected. It was the exact opposite. I should have seen more black spots this year if they do indeed develop them during their second year of blooming.
I have a sense that there are certain varieties that have the spots and certain varieties that don't. It seems that the places where I saw the flowers with the spots this year are the same locations they were last year. But I'm not sure.That's a followup I'll have to do-after I get done with my egg cooking experiments.

The proportions here should have been reversed if the black dot appears during the second year of blooming.