Daucus carota (wild carrot)
Daucus carota (wild carrot) inflorescence (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Daucus carota L.
wild carrot, carrot, Queen Anne’s lace, bird’s nest, devil’s plague
Widespread and not considered to be threatened.
Rough grassland, coastal cliffs and dunes.
Food and drink.
Wild carrot has some medical properties and is similar in appearance to poisonous species such as poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), water hemlock (Cicuta maculata) and fool's parsley (Aethusa cynapium).
About this species
Wild carrot is a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae), which includes parsnip, parsley, fennel and angelica.
Wild forms have thin, wiry taproots, bearing little resemblance to the bright orange, fleshy root vegetable available commercially, although both share the characteristic carrot fragrance. Delicate white flower heads are produced after the second year of growth, and these have inspired the common name Queen Anne’s lace.
The orange colour of cultivated carrots is due to a high concentration of beta-carotene. This is a precursor of vitamin A, which is important for growth, development and good vision. This link between carrots and good eye health probably gave rise to the common suggestion to children reluctant to eat their vegetables – eating carrots will help you to see in the dark!
The spiny fruits have been considered to have diuretic properties and have been used in the treatment of kidney complaints and dropsy.
Carota sylvestris (Mill.) Rupr., Caucalis carnosa Roth (a full list is available on The Plant List)