What Or Who Is Ammi Majus?
Unless you live in southern Europe or the Middle East, you may never have heard of Ammi majus. Ammi majus is a plant, a very attractive one, which is native to those regions. It has been introduced to many other countries, including the United States, but it can at times be difficult to find out too much about it. You can often find the plant in botanical gardens and it is said to have been grown to the point where it has naturalized in several states. Most gardening and horticultural web sites however, do not provide much in the way of particulars about Ammi majus.
It may help a little to know that Ammi majus goes by several other names, the two most common being Queen Anne's lace and Queen of Africa. A verbal description of Ammi majus makes it appear to be almost like a cross between dill and Baby's Breath, though its blossoms are much larger than those of the latter. Queen Anne's lace does however have feathery foliage reminiscent of the dill plant. When in blossom it us often used to fill out bouquets, as the blossoms from the other flowers in the bouquet appear to float in a cloud of white blossoms. The plant reaches a height of about 3 feet, but because of the volume taken up by its blossoms, it can make a nice border plant.
A Late Bloomer - Even if planted early in the spring, Ammi majus is a late blooming plant, and no matter what you may try to do to entice an earlier bloom, it will usually not put forth blossoms until late July. Flowering will usually continue well into the autumn, even after blossoms have died off and seed pods have started to form. This annual, likes full sun but will usually do well in partial shade also. This plant is also noted as a provider of long lasting cut flowers. The seed pods, if left to ripen, will often attract songbirds in the late summer and fall.
Ammi majus is hardy in USDA zones 4 - 9. In zones 4 and 5 seeds should be sown in the spring or early summer, in zones 6 though 9 they may be planted in the fall. The plant will die back at first frost, but as long has the frost has not come extremely early the plant will have reseeded itself and new plants will emerge the following spring.
A Touch Of Confusion - The plant also goes by the name of Bishop's weed, which is a little unfortunate as Bishop's weed as we generally know it is a different plant with different growing habits. Bishop's weed, also known as false Queen Anne's lace, does have blossoms somewhat similar to Ammi majus, but there the similarity ends. Bishop's weed is truly a weed, and a somewhat invasive one at that. Though its blooms are attractive, gardeners are more apt to pull them up than encourage them to grow.
If you purchase Bishop's weed seeds at a plant store you will most likely be getting Ammi majus seeds, and not the weed. It wouldn't hurt to ask though, so you can be certain of getting the plant you are expecting. Most on line retailers are careful to specify either Ammi majus, Queen Anne's lace, or Queen of Africa on the seed packet, or false Queen Anne's lace if it is Bishop's weed that is being sold. If you are in the habit of putting bouquets of cut flowers together during the summer months, adding Ammi majus to your garden might be a very good idea indeed, giving you a new range of ideas and your garden a fresh new look.