Rafed English

A Rainbow of Lace

By Jim Conrad ~ Illustrated by Brenda Pepper

Make this white flower burst with color!

Queen Anne’s lace, a pretty, lacy-looking plant, may have white flowers in nature, but with your help, it can make an amazing transformation. Its white flowers can easily be changed into a rainbow of colors sure to brighten any room.

To make your bouquet, look in weedy areas to find some Queen Anne’s lace. Snip off several blossoms with scissors, and place the flower stems directly into a plastic bag or jar with a little water in it. You should not keep the stems out of water for too long, or the blossoms will dry up and your activity won’t work.

While you’re gathering your flowers, dig up one plant. Look at and smell its long taproot. What does it remind you of? Now you know why this plant is also known as the wild carrot. However, unlike a carrot, this taproot should not be eaten.

Next, gather some small containers and various shades of food coloring. In each container put about one part food coloring and two parts water. You will use less than one-third of a bottle of food coloring.

Once you’ve mixed the food coloring and water, place the stems of several blossoms of Queen Anne’s lace into each container of colored water and let them stand for several hours.

Once the flowers are colored, make a bouquet by arranging your colored flowers in a vase with clear water. And don’t forget to use some plain white flowers. They’re pretty, too.

Why this works

Plants are always losing water that evaporates into the air from their leaves and flowers, so more water is continuously being pulled up through their stems. In this activity, the food coloring moves into the flower petals with the water as the water gets pulled up the stems. You’ll notice that some colors go along with the water better than others and therefore seem to climb up to the flowers faster than others.

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