Q: My sister-in-law from Virginia is telling me that the plant I call Queen Anne’s Lace is a poisonous noxious weed called giant hogweed. How do you tell them apart?
A: The plants’ flowers are similar: both have white lacecaps composed of many small white flowers. This is understandable since both are members of the carrot family. A Queen Anne’s Lace flower cap typically has a small knot of dark red or purple flowers in the center. The stem is slightly hairy and solid green. In contrast, giant hogweed has a smooth stem with reddish spots and streaks and no dark flowers in the flower cap.