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My wife sprang this one on me. She knows it (and OED confirms as dialect) as a bit of loose skin round a fingernail - also called a hang-nail or agnail. But neither of us have any idea why that name might have been used.
Google has next to nothing but
http://www.witcheswell.com/text/stories/plant-omens.txt also identifies the term as
"QUEEN ANNE'S LACE
If brought into the house, snakes will follow it. In Yorkshire, this is known as
Mother Die, or Stepmother's Blessing, since if it's brought into the house, your
mother will die."
I can see how the term would apply there. But why the bit of skin? Is there some link between Queen Anne's Lace and the shredded finger? All theories gratefully accepted.
I can see how the term would apply there. But why the bit of skin? Is there some link between Queen Anne's Lace and the shredded finger? All theories gratefully accepted.

No theory, but jagged fingernail = stepmother.
http://www.co.burlington.nj.us/tourism/ecotourism/folklore/talk.htm  ...