T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Daucus carota (Wild Carrot)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Daucus
Species: D. carota
Binomial name: Daucus carota
Common names: Wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace

Daucus carota is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia. In New Zealand it is found on roadsides and waste places. The domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus. Daucus carota is a variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall.
The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3–7 cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath.
A solitary purple flower often occurs in the center of the umbel. After flowering they turn to seed and contract and become concave like a bird's nest. The dried umbels can detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds. The fruit are egg shaped with seven ribs and hooked spines which will attach to animal hair.
Daucus carota is very similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock but Daucus carota is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves and a root which is a slightly thickened taproot that smells like carrots.



Notice the solitary purple flower that often occurs in the center of the umbel

   

A pink coloured flower head.



A developing umbel






Here the umbel has turned to seed and looks like a bird nest.  The hooked fruit are about 3mm long.