WILD CARROT (Daucus carota)

Iran, Mediterranean to E Asia

Gpk Drayton Park gates, Wild Carrot and Knapweed

Wild Carrot grows in grassland, hedgerows, sandy soils, along roadsides and on cliffs. It flowers from June to August, each flowerhead a flat disc of tiny CREAM flowers with a single RED flower in the centre. After flowering, the disc begins to close; gradually it forms itself into a cup, ending up as a globe of dry brown seeds and stems, good for birds.

“Also known as Queen Anne’s Lace, this is a dainty, frothy wildflower. Unlike cultivated carrots, the wild carrot’s root is tough and stringy and not particularly palatable.”

www.plantlife.org.uk/wild_plants/plant_species/wild_carrot

 

One wild carrot, planted in our garden, was found good enough to eat – by squirrels or mice. It regrew, but the new growth, too, was eaten and its stringy, unpalatable root dug up and eaten as well. These photos are from Gillespie Park, the nature reserve down the street from us.

 

Wild Carrot with Hoverfly, GPk

 

Wild Carrot at Kew Gardens

“Daucus carota can usually be seen growing in the Plant Family Beds and Student Vegetable Plots at Kew… More than 80 collections of Daucus carota seeds are held in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.

It is thought that the familiar orange carrot in cultivation today originated in the area around Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and had roots that were dark purple due to the presence of the pigment anthocyanin. Dark red and purple carrots are still grown in Afghanistan today.

 

Bee’s Favourite.

It is a food plant for the caterpillars of swallowtail butterflies (such as Papilio machaon and P. polyxenes) and a source of pollen and nectar for bees.”

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/daucus-carota-wild-carrot

 

Horwood counted 61 species of insect known to visit Wild Carrot in Britain in 1919: bees, moths, beetles and bugs.

British Wild Flowers in their Natural Haunts, A R Horwood

The Gresham Publishing Company, London 1919.

Other names: Bees-nest, Bird’s Nest Root, Bishop’s Lace, Crow’s nest, Dawke, Devil’s Plague, Dill, Fiddle, Fool’s Parsley, Garden Carrot, Herbe a dinde, Hill Poppy, Hill-trot, Kex, Lace Flower, Rantipole and Yarkuki.

www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/wild.html

GPk F - front gates on Drayton Park Rd, Wild Carrot and Knapweed

Wild Carrot and Knapweed by Drayton Park gates, Gillespie Park

Wikipedia says the root of Wild Carrot contains much sugar. Brought to N. America as a dyer’s weed, it provided a creamy, off-white colour. Along with certain other plants introduced from one country to another, this one has made a nuisance of itself. The US Department of Agriculture calls it a noxious weed, a pest in pastures whose seeds persist in soil for 2 to 5 years. They advise wearing gloves when handling the leaves, which may cause dermatitis.