Natural Dyeing with Wild Carrot

Of all the wild flowers growing at the moment Wild Carrot otherwise known as Queen Anne's lace has a beautiful elegance.

A plant of numerous virtues which we will explore, most importantly as a natural dye with its fresh lemony tones.

It makes any wild flower bouquet complete with its dainty up-turned umbrella like flower heads on a delicate stem but what is the history of this beauty?

Believed to originate from Afghanistan and spread through Mediterranean Europe its Latin name is Daucus Carota with common names including Bird's Nest and Queen Anne's lace.

The origin of its name Queen Anne's lace came from Queen Anne of England who was an expert lace maker. The Legend says that whilst she crafted she pricked herself with a needle and a single drop of blood fell from her finger onto the lace leaving a dark purple spot which you find in the central bloom of the flower.

We enjoyed creating a natural dye with this plant. 

If you would like to try this at home here are some instructions:

Mordant your silk or cotton fabric. Find instructions here.

Fill a saucepan full with the leaves and stems and a few heads if you are short.

Cover with water at least 2cm above the top of the plant matter.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 1-2 hours with lid on then leave in to cool. You may need to simmer a little longer to reduce the liquid and strengthen the dye colour depending on what colour you wish to achieve.

Use a pan large enough to allow the fabric some room if you want an even colour.

Keep checking to see how the dye colour is looking and when you are happy strain out the skins and place your material in the dye bath.

Place your pan back on the hob and simmer for 15 minutes before setting aside and allowing to cool.

We found it best to leave the cooled dye pan overnight for maximum colour.

As with all the plant dyes we experiment with we love to take a holistic approach and learn more about their benefits as healing herbs, tonics and food.

The root or "carrot" is edible as a food and in fact grated raw is used historically to dispel worms.

Its main association is with the urinary system, acting as a powerful diuretic helping to remove uric acid and water retention from the system. An infusion of the leaves is a useful treatment for cystitis. 

Young first year leaves can be chopped and added to a salad to support liver and kidney.

Enjoy experimenting with this seasonal dye plant. 

x Prim and Ness


July 31, 2022 — Primrose Matheson