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Overview

Brief Summary

Daucus carota is native to southwest Asia and parts of Europe, with a suggested center of diversity in Afghanistan. In its native habitats, this species often occurs on mountain slopes from 2000 to 3000 meters in elevation; however, the species has been aggressively bred and cultivated as a food plant beginning about 3000 BC. Consequently the present habitats include much lower elevations and substantial appearance in cultivation and at waste places.

Commonly known as Wild carrot or Queen Anne's lace, this herb can attain a height of 120 centimeters, and exhibits a generally branched growth habit. Leaves have petioles of three to ten centimters and blades of five to fifteen centimeters.
  • * Jepson Manual. 1993. Daucus carota University of California, Berkeley, California, USA

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The carrot (Daucus carota) includes, among other named subspecies, both Wild Carrot (Daucus carota carota) and the domesticated forms commonly treated as a distinct subspecies, D. carota sativus.

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Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats & Eastern Ghats, Cultivated, Native of Mediterranean Region"
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Description

This adventive biennial plant consists of a rosette of basal leaves during the first year, bolting upward during the second year to produce flowers and seeds. Mature second-year plants are about 2-3½' tall. The basal leaves are usually double pinnate with long petioles. In outline, they are up to 10" and 4" across (including the petioles), narrowing gradually toward their tips. Each compound leaf is subdivided into leaflets that are usually pinnate, while the secondary leaflets are entire, cleft, or coarsely toothed. The individual leaflets are rather narrow, providing the compound leaves with a lacy or fern-like appearance. Scattered white hairs often occur along the petioles, or along the margins and lower mid-veins of the leaflets. The round stems of bolting plants are finely ribbed and have scattered white hairs; they are hollow on the inside and branch sparingly. The compound leaves along the stems are alternate and have their petioles enclosed by sheaths. Otherwise, they are similar to the basal leaves in appearance. The flowering stalks are long and largely devoid of leaves, terminating in compound umbels of small white flowers. Each compound umbel has a whorl of green bracts at its base that are pinnatifid with linear segments. The flat-topped compound umbel is about 2-5" across and consists of about 30 umbellets. Each umbellet has a whorl of linear green bracts at its base and consists of about 30 flowers. While the flowers are blooming, their slender pedicels are often white or greenish white. Each flower consists of 5 white petals and 5 stamens, spanning about 1/8" across. However, the central flower of the central umbellet is often reddish purple. There are forms of Wild Carrot where all of the flowers are light pink, light purple, or reddish purple; the latter color is particularly rare. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 2 months. There is no noticeable floral scent, although the foliage has a slightly bitter carrot-like scent because of the presence of saponins and possibly other chemicals. Each flower produces a 2-seeded burry fruit about 1/8" long that is ovoid in shape. Each seed is flat on one side, but rounded on the other, and it has white bristly hairs along its ribs. The fruits are variable in color; they are initially light reddish purple, later becoming grayish brown. As the seeds become mature, the compound umbels start to close and assume a shape that is more or less spheroid. They can become detached from the flowering stalks and blow about in the wind. The root system consists of a stout taproot that is white and runs deep into the ground. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
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Comments

Wild Carrot is an ubiquitous plant that many people can recognize. It is possible, however, to confuse this introduced species with other white-flowered members of the Carrot family. Wild Carrot doesn't begin blooming until mid-summer and usually occurs in mesic to dry areas, rather than wetlands. The presence of a single reddish purple flower in the middle of the compound umbel is a distinctive characteristic, although it is not always present. There is a similar native species, Daucus pusillus (Small Wild Carrot), that occurs in two counties of southern Illinois. The primary bracts of the compound flowers for this species are double pinnate, whereas the primary bracts of the introduced species are single pinnate. According to most authorities, Wild Carrot is the source of the cultivated carrot. In addition, this species is the source of the natural food dye, carotene, which provides it with additional commercial importance. Another common name of Daucus carota is Queen Anne's Lace.
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General Description

Plants to 120 cm. Leaves oblong, 2–3-pinnate/pinnatisect; ultimate segments linear to lanceolate, 2-15 mm long, 0.5-4 mm wide, glabrous to hispid especially on the veins and margins, acute, mucronate. Peduncles 10-55 cm, retrorsely hispid; bracts foliaceous, pinnate, rarely entire, lobes linear, 3–30 mm, margin scarious; rays 2-7.5 cm, unequal; bracteoles 5-7, linear, entire or 2-3-lobed, more or less scarious and ciliate, equaling or exceeding flowers. Petals white, sometimes yellow or pinkish. Fruit 3-4 mm long, ca. 2 mm wide.
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Distribution

"Karnataka: All districts Tamil Nadu: Dindigul, Nilgiri, Salem, Theni"
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Wild Carrot is a very common plant that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is adventive from Europe and has existed in the United States for quite some time. Habitats include thickets, degraded prairies or meadows, areas along railroads and roadsides, lawns, pastures, abandoned fields, fence rows, vacant lots, junk yards, and other waste areas. Fire is not very effective in removing this plant from natural habitats, however it tends to decline in such habitats in the absence of disturbance.
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Anhui, Guizhou, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang [N Africa, SW Asia, Europe; cultivated and adventive worldwide in temperate regions].
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Daucus carota is occurring in Anhui, Guizhou, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang of China, N Africa, SW Asia, Europe; cultivated and adventive worldwide in temperate regions.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Introduced and naturalized from Europe, Daucus carota inhabits dry fields and waste places at low altitudes throughout the northern United State from Vermont to Virginia west to Washington and California and north into Canada (Fernald 1951).

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The domesticated carrot (D. carota sativus) is grown throughout the world.

Wild carrot (D. carota carota) is native to temperate regions of Europe and western Asia, and has been introduced into America, New Zealand, Australia and Japan (Rong et al. 2010 and references therein).

Wild carrot is found throughout the eastern states and along the south and west coasts of the United States, in Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. It occurs throughout the British Isles, where it is especially abundant near the sea. It also occurs from Norway and central Sweden south to North Africa and the Canary Islands, and eastward through Siberia to northern and eastern India. (Mitich 1996 and references therein)

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Distribution: A cosmopolitan plant.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Daucus carota L.:
Belize (Mesoamerica)
Canada (North America)
Chile (South America)
Costa Rica (Mesoamerica)
Ecuador (South America)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)
Honduras (Mesoamerica)
Panama (Mesoamerica)
Peru (South America)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)
El Salvador (Mesoamerica)
Nicaragua (Mesoamerica)
South Africa (Africa & Madagascar)
China (Asia)
Colombia (South America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants biennial, 15 cm to 1 m tall. Root a thick tap-root. Stem glabrous to pilose; hairs white. Leaves compound, 2-3-pinnate, hispid; segments linear to oval; margin deeply toothed; tips mucronate. Peduncles up to 30 cm long, his¬pid. Involucre of pinnately divided bracts, up to 5 cm long; segments filiform to linear. Rays numerous, the outer longer, incurved. Involucel of undivided or divided bractlets; margins entire or ciliate. Calyx teeth minute. Petals white to yellowish or light purple, the outer radiate; the petals of the central flower of an umbel sometimes red. Ovary hispid; styles 0.5 to 1 mm long. Fruit ovoid, 2-3 mm long; primary ridges not prominent, slightly bristly; secondary ridges winged, spiny; spines white; one vitta under each secondary ridge; commissure 2-vittate.
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Description

Plants to 120 cm. Leaves oblong, 2–3-pinnate/pinnatisect; ultimate segments linear to lanceolate, 2–15 × 0.5–4 mm, glabrous to hispid especially on the veins and margins, acute, mucronate. Peduncles 10–55 cm, retrorsely hispid; bracts foliaceous, pinnate, rarely entire, lobes linear, 3–30 mm, margin scarious; rays 2–7.5 cm, unequal; bracteoles 5–7, linear, entire or 2–3-lobed, more or less scarious and ciliate, equaling or exceeding flowers. Petals white, sometimes yellow or pinkish. Fruit 3–4 × ca. 2 mm. Fl. May–Jul.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Daucus carota var. carota is close relative of Daucus carota var. sativa, but differs from the latter in taproot slender, branched, woody, not fleshy, usually brown (vs. thickened, elongate terete or clavate, fleshy, reddish, reddish-yellow, or yellwo).
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A similar umbellifer, Carum carvi (caraway), is distinguished from D. carota by small umbellets that are separate from each other; inconspicuous, narrow bracts below the umbel; ribbed seeds without bristles that give the odor of caraway when crushed; and glabrous leaves and flower stalks.

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Look Alikes

Lookalikes

There are around 5 dozen Daucus species worldwide (Gleason and Cronquist 1992). In the northeastern United States, there is one other Daucus, D. pusillus, which is widespread in the southern U.S. In contrast to D. carota, D. pusillus has involucral bracts that are not scarious-margined (scarious-margined below in D. carota) and that are appressed to the umbel in fruit (spreading or reflexed in D. carota). (Gleason and Cronquist 1992)

A number of other members of the carrot family--including some dangerously poisonous ones--bear some resemblance to Wild Carrot. For example, Fool's Parsley (Aethusa cynapium) and the Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) that supposedly killed Socrates could be confused with Wild Carrot (both of these plants, however, have hairless stems and unpleasant-smelling foliage, among other differences). (Stokes and Stokes 1985)

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Wild Carrot is a very common plant that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is adventive from Europe and has existed in the United States for quite some time. Habitats include thickets, degraded prairies or meadows, areas along railroads and roadsides, lawns, pastures, abandoned fields, fence rows, vacant lots, junk yards, and other waste areas. Fire is not very effective in removing this plant from natural habitats, however it tends to decline in such habitats in the absence of disturbance.
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Mountain slopes, ruderal areas, also widely cultivated; 2000–3000 m.
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Growing in mountains slopes, ruderal areas, also widely cultivated; 2000-3000 m.
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Comments: It is often found on calcareous soil, but not restricted to it. It apparently prefers fine-particled soil and a high nutrient status, but endures a wide range of conditions (Dale 1974). Ahrenhoerster (pers. comm.) suggested that it may be more persistent on heavy soils with a good clay content. Gross and Werner (1982) stated that D. carota normally does not occur on newly abandoned fields because seeds do not survive for more than 1-2 years and are not often present in a newly disturbed area. Once dispersed to an area, the seedlings can emerge and survive in several types of ground cover, including those with thick vegetation. It is commonly found in fields 4-7 years after abandonment (Gross and Werner 1982).

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Wild Carrot in Illinois

Daucus carota (Wild Carrot) introduced
(observations are from Krombein et al. and MacRae; information is limited; insect activity is unspecified)

Bees (short-tongued)
Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes nudus (Kr); Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus mesillae (Kr), Hylaeus modestus modestus (Kr); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena hippotes (Kr), Andrena virginiana (Kr)

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera tubulus (McR), Anthaxia flavimana (McR)

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Faunal Associations

The nectar of the flowers attracts many kinds of insects, especially flies and wasps, including parasitoid Gasteruption spp. (Wild Carrot Wasps). The foliage is eaten by the caterpillars of the butterfly Papilio polyxenes asterias (Black Swallowtail). The burry fruits can be spread by birds and mammals by clinging to their feathers or fur. It has also been shown that the seeds can pass through the digestive tracts of livestock and remain viable, which provides another method of distribution. Although the foliage and flowers are not preferred as a source of food for mammalian herbivores, it is eaten occasionally by rabbits, deer, and cattle. With the exception of the Ring-Necked Pheasant, most birds don't use the seeds as a food source. Blue Jays have been known to use the foliage of Wild Carrot in the construction of their nests. This practice appears to be beneficial, as it reduces the number of nest lice and other parasites, producing healthier hatchlings with a higher survival rate. Apparently, the foliage of Wild Carrot contains an insecticide or insect repellant.
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Foodplant / spinner
caterpillar of Cacoecimorpha pronubana spins live leaf of Daucus carota
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
Calosirus terminatus feeds on Daucus carota

Foodplant / pathogen
Carrot Mottle virus (CMoV) infects and damages twisted leaf (petiole) of Daucus carota

Foodplant / pathogen
Carrot Red Leaf virus (CtRLV) infects and damages twisted leaf (petiole) of Daucus carota

Foodplant / sap sucker
Cavariella aegopodii sucks sap of live leaf of Daucus carota
Remarks: season: 5-summer

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Chamaepsila rosae feeds within live root of Daucus carota

Foodplant / pathogen
Ditylenchus dipsaci infects and damages live, swollen, split leaf base of Daucus carota

Foodplant / sap sucker
Dysaphis crataegi sucks sap of live root of Daucus carota
Remarks: season: summer

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
cleistothecium of Erysiphe heraclei parasitises live Daucus carota

Foodplant / miner
larva of Euleia heraclei mines live leaf of Daucus carota

Foodplant / saprobe
Heteropatella anamorph of Heterosphaeria patella is saprobic on dead stem of Daucus carota
Remarks: season: -9

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Hypera pastinacae grazes on flower of Daucus carota

Foodplant / open feeder
Hypera pollux grazes on leaf of Daucus carota

Foodplant / saprobe
Itersonilia perplexans is saprobic on decayed, dead root of Daucus carota

Foodplant / pathogen
amphigenous colony of Mycocentrospora anamorph of Mycocentrospora acerina infects and damages live leaf of Daucus carota
Remarks: captive: in captivity, culture, or experimentally induced

Foodplant / parasite
underground tuber of Orobanche minor var. maritima parasitises root of Daucus carota
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / miner
larva of Phytomyza chaerophylli mines leaf of Daucus carota
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Thielaviopsis dematiaceous anamorph of Thielaviopsis basicola infects and damages root of Daucus carota

Foodplant / parasite
Xanthomonas hortorum pv. carotae parasitises live leaf of Daucus carota

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The best known predator of Wild Carrot in eastern North America is the Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), the caterpillar larvae of which feed on a range of plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae, formerly Umbelliferae), as well as the citrus family (Rutaceae).(Wagner 2005)

Umehara et al. (2005) observed insect visitors (potential pollinators) to Wild Carrot in Japan, recording visits from a variety of syrphid (and other) flies, bee, and other insects.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering from May to July.
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Reproduction

The following comes from Dale (1974). Daucus carota is protandrous; on an individual flower, the gynoecium (egg) is still immature when the pollen is released. Long filaments can facilitate self-fertilization of adjacent flowers when insect pollination fails. Seeds of the terminal, primary umbel mature first, are largest, have the highest viability, and have two to three times the number of seeds as do subsequent umbels. The umbel dries as it matures and breaks open, scattering the seeds. Flowers appear from May through October, and seeds mature and are released from mid-summer to mid-winter. The seeds have barbs, which promote dispersal by animals and wind (Gross and Werner 1982). There is no evidence for vegetative reproduction.

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

The complete carrot plastid genome is 155,911 bp in length, with 115 unique genes and 21 duplicated genes within the IR. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences for 61 protein-coding genes using both maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML) were performed for 29 angiosperms. Phylogenies from both methods provide strong support for the monophyly of several major angiosperm clades, including monocots, eudicots, rosids, asterids, eurosids II, euasterids I, and euasterids II. Both MP and ML trees provide very strong support (100% bootstrap) for the sister relationship of Daucus with Panax in the euasterid II clade (Ruhlman et al., 2006).
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Physiology and Cell Biology

Cell Biology

Cytology

Chromosome number is 2n=18 (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

The basic chromosomal number of Daucus carota is 2n = 18 (Das and mallick, 1985; Subramanian, 1986; Krishnappa and Basappa, 1988; Dobeš et al., 1997).
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Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Daucus carota

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 18
Specimens with Barcodes: 32
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Threats

Comments: Daucus carota populations have a large proportion of annuals under favorable conditions and low density. At high densities intraspecific competition causes plants to become less vigorous, flower late, and set fewer seeds. Flowering may be delayed to a third or fourth season if conditions are unfavorable (Dale 1974). Attacks by the nymphal stage of the plant bug, Lygus spp., on the seed destroys the seed embryo. Roots are eaten by carrot rust fly larvae (Psila rosae), and lesion nematode adults and larvae (Protyleachus spp.), and the root knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.). The aster yellow fungus, a mycoplasm transmitted mainly by leaf hoppers (Macrostelos) can damage 25-90% of a wild carrot patch (Dale 1974).

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Management

Management Requirements: Daucus carota can be controlled along paths or in small patches by hand-pulling or mowing in mid-to-late summer before seed set. It is an early successional invader, but does not appear to significantly inhibit the establishment and recovery of native prairie species. Abundance in sandy soil generally declines on its own as natives become reestablished (Huffman, pers. comm.). It is more persistent in soils with a good clay content, and active management may be necessary in such areas (Ahrenhoerster, pers. comm.). It is particularly troublesome when it occurs on railroad and highway rights-of-way with heavy soils where frequent mowing keeps the area bare and, since incorrectly timed, simply allows for germination or scatters seeds. Ahrenhoerster (pers. comm.) recommended hand-pulling or mowing close to the ground in the first year of growth when plants are 7-10 inches high.

Management Programs: On the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Ohio, Daucus carota was abundant in 1985, on relatively bare soil of a field abandoned from cultivation just two years before. Mowing was considered, but by 1987, abundance had significantly decreased on its own. Contact: Mary Huffman, Manager and Research Associate, Kitty Todd Nature Preserve, 10270 Old State Line Rd., Swanton, OH 43558. 419-867-0619.

Daucus carota is more persistent on the heavier soils of southeastern Wisconsin. Ahrenhoerster (pers. comm.) recommended hand-pulling or mowing close to the ground in the first year of growth when plants are 7-10 inches high. Contact: Bob Ahrenhoerster, P.O. Box 83, Northlake, WI 53064. 414-673-5878.

Management Research Needs: The persistence of Daucus in prairies is apparently unknown. How well does it compete with native species for available resources? Is it a concern on good quality prairies? Is active management, other than encouraging good recovery of the native community, required? How does fire affect Daucus, and can prescribed burns enhance or deter its growth?

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

This species usually grows in locations with full sunlight, mesic to dry conditions, and a clay-loam soil that is not too acidic. However, it will also adapt to moist conditions and other kinds of soil. Wild Carrot is aggressive and can be difficult to destroy. It often survives mowing and hand-pulling of plants by the rootstocks. This is because the deep taproot is difficult to remove and stores considerable energy to initiate new growth.
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Uses

The fruit of Daucus carota were used for medicine (“hu luo bo”) and oil.
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Uses

Daucus carota is considered a problematic weed in much of its range (at least where it is not native). One subspecies, the domesticated D. carota sativus, is an important vegetable cultivated worldwide and is an excellent source of vitamin A precursor.

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Risks

Stewardship Overview: Daucus carota is not usually a high-priority for management, but it can be persistent or require active management on heavy soils with a good clay content. Control is achieved by hand-pulling or mowing close to the ground before seed set. On lighter sandy soils it may persist for a few years on recovering prairies but tends to decline on its own as the native grasses and forbs become established.

Species Impact: Daucus carota invades open waste ground, competing for resources with native grasses and forbs. It is a threat to recovering grasslands and prairies where it occurs because it matures faster and grows larger than many native species. It tends to come up once prescribed burning is begun on a prairie restoration site and can be persistent on soils with a good clay content.

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Risk Statement

Umehara et al. (2005) showed that wild and cultivated carrots can produce vigorous hybrid offspring and developed genetic markers that could be useful in tracing inrogression of genes from cultivated carrots into wild populations. Such introgression is of particular concern in considering the possible risks of genes inserted into cultivated varieties escaping into wild populations and creating "superweeds" or other problems.

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Wikipedia

Daucus carota

Daucus carota (common names include wild carrot, (UK) bird's nest, bishop's lace, and Queen Anne's lace (North America)) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia and naturalised to North America and Australia. Domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus.

Description[edit]

Daucus carota is a biennial plant that grows a rosette of leaves in the spring and summer, while building up the stout taproot that stores large amounts of sugars for the plant to flower in the second year.

Seedlings shortly after germination

Soon after germination, carrot seedlings show a distinct demarcation between the taproot and the hypocotyl. The latter is thicker and lacks lateral roots. At the upper end of the hypocotyl is the seed leaf. The first true leaf appears about 10–15 days after germination. Subsequent leaves, produced from the stem nodes, are alternating (with a single leaf attached to a node, and the leaves growing in alternate directions) and compound, and arranged in a spiral. The leaf blades are pinnate. As the plant grows, the bases of the cotyledon are pushed apart. The stem, located just above the ground, is compressed and the internodes are not distinct. When the seed stalk elongates, the tip of the stem narrows and becomes pointed, extends upward, and becomes a highly branched inflorescence. The stems grow to 60–200 cm (20–80 in) tall.[1]

Most of the taproot consists of parenchymatous outer cortex (phloem) and an inner core (xylem). High-quality carrots have a large proportion of cortex compared to core. Although a completely xylem-free carrot is not possible, some cultivars have small and deeply pigmented cores; the taproot can appear to lack a core when the colour of the cortex and core are similar in intensity. Taproots typically have a conical shape, although cylindrical and round cultivars are available. The root diameter can range from 1 cm (0.4 in) to as much as 10 cm (4 in) at the widest part. The root length ranges from 5 cm (2.0 in) to 50 cm (20 in), although most are between 10 and 25 cm (4 and 10 in).[1]

Daucus carota umbel (inflorescence). Individual flowers are borne on undivided pedicels originating from a common node.
Top view of Daucus carota inflorescence, showing umbellets

Flower development begins when the flat apical meristem changes from producing leaves to an uplifted conical meristem capable of producing stem elongation and an inflorescence. The inflorescence is a compound umbel, and each umbel contains several umbellets. The first (primary) umbel occurs at the end of the main floral stem; smaller secondary umbels grow from the main branch, and these further branch into third, fourth, and even later-flowering umbels. A large primary umbel can contain up to 50 umbellets, each of which may have as many as 50 flowers; subsequent umbels have fewer flowers. Flowers are small and white, sometimes with a light green or yellow tint. They consist of five petals, five stamens, and an entire calyx. The anthers usually dehisce and the stamens fall off before the stigma becomes receptive to receive pollen. The anthers of the brown male sterile flowers degenerate and shrivel before anthesis. In the other type of male sterile flower, the stamens are replaced by petals, and these petals do not fall off. A nectar-containing disc is present on the upper surface of the carpels.[1]

Flowers consist of five petals, five stamens, and an entire calyx.

Flower development is protandrous, so the anthers release their pollen before the stigma of the same flower is receptive. The arrangement is centripetal, meaning the oldest flowers are near the edge and the youngest flowers are in the center. Flowers usually first open at the periphery of the primary umbel, followed about a week later on the secondary umbels, and then in subsequent weeks in higher-order umbels. The usual flowering period of individual umbels is 7 to 10 days, so a plant can be in the process of flowering for 30–50 days. The distinctive umbels and floral nectaries attract pollinating insects. After fertilization and as seeds develop, the outer umbellets of an umbel bend inward causing the umbel shape to change from slightly convex or fairly flat to concave, and when cupped it resembles a bird's nest.[1]

The fruit that develops is a schizocarp consisting of two mericarps; each mericarp is an achene or true seed. The paired mericarps are easily separated when they are dry. Premature separation (shattering) before harvest is undesirable because it can result in seed loss. Mature seeds are flattened on the commissural side that faced the septum of the ovary. The flattened side has five longitudinal ribs. The bristly hairs that protrude from some ribs are usually removed by abrasion during milling and cleaning. Seeds also contain oil ducts and canals. Seeds vary somewhat in size, ranging from less than 500 to more than 1000 seeds per gram.[1]

The carrot is a diploid species, and has nine relatively short, uniform-length chromosomes (2n=9). The genome size is estimated to be 473 mega base pairs, which is four times larger than Arabidopsis thaliana, one-fifth the size of the maize genome, and about the same size as the rice genome.[2]

Uses[edit]

Like the cultivated carrot, the D. carota root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume.

Extra caution should be used when collecting D. carota because it bears a close resemblance to poison hemlock. In addition, the leaves of the wild carrot can cause phytophotodermatitis,[3] so caution should also be used when handling the plant.

If used as a dyestuff, the flowers give a creamy, off-white color.

Folk-medicine holds that an infusion of the seeds will inhibit pregnancy.

D. carota, when freshly cut, will draw or change color depending on the color of the water in which it is held. Note that this effect is only visible on the "head" or flower of the plant. Carnations also exhibit this effect. This occurrence is a popular science demonstration in primary grade school.

Beneficial weed[edit]

This beneficial weed can be used as a companion plant to crops. Like most members of the umbellifer family, it attracts wasps to its small flowers in its native land; however, where it has been introduced, it attracts only very few of such wasps. This species is also documented to boost tomato plant production when kept nearby, and it can provide a microclimate of cooler, moister air for lettuce, when intercropped with it.[citation needed]

However, the USDA has listed it as a noxious weed,[4] and it is considered a serious pest in pastures. It persists in the soil seed bank for two to five years.[5]

Queen Anne's lace[edit]

D. carota was introduced and naturalised in North America, where it is often known as "Queen Anne's lace". Both Anne, Queen of Great Britain, and her great grandmother Anne of Denmark are taken to be the Queen Anne for which the plant is named.[6] It is so called because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center is thought to represent a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny red flower, coloured by anthocyanin, is to attract insects.

Taxonomy[edit]

Carrot was first officially described by Carolus Linnaeus in his 1753 work Species Plantarum.[7] It has acquired several synonyms in its taxonomic history:[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Rubatsky et al. pp. 22–28.
  2. ^ Bradeen and Simon (2007), p. 162.
  3. ^ Phytophotodermatitis Clinical Presentation, Medscape
  4. ^ USDA PLANTS. PLANTS Profile for Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  5. ^ Clark, D. L.; Wilson, M. V. (2003). "Post-dispersal seed fates of four prairie species". American Journal of Botany 90 (5): 730. doi:10.3732/ajb.90.5.730. 
  6. ^ "Queen Ann's Lace". Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ Linnaeus, Carolus (1753). Species Plantarum (in Latin) 1. Stockholm: Laurentii Salvii. p. 242. 
  8. ^ Kays, Stanley J. (2011). "3. Latin binomials and synonyms". Cultivated Vegetables of the World: A Multilingual Onomasticon. Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 617–708. ISBN 978-90-8686-720-2. 

Additional references[edit]

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It is a common plant both in the hills and the plains. The carrot is cultivated throughout our area.
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The fruit used for medicine (“hu luo bo”) and oil.
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