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Wild Carrot – Daucus carota

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) is also known as Bird’s Nest. Bishop’s Lace and Queen Anne’s Lace is a member of the Parsley (Apiaceae) family. The root of the Wild Carrot smells and looks like the carrots typically seen everyday, it has a flat top but produces an umbrella of white flowers. The first leaf typically appears about 10 – 15 days after germination. The leaves on the stem alternate and appear to be arranged into a spiral. The blades of the leaves are pinnate and as the plant grows the stem begins to be located just above the ground. As the stalk grows, the tip of the stem begins to narrow and become pointed and highly branched and can grow to around 200cm high.

Under the ground, the roots of this Wild Carrot can range from 1cm to as far as 10cm at the widest part in diameter, where as the length of the root can range from 5cm to 50cm in extreme cases, where as typically the length is between 10 – 25cm.

This plant begins to flower when the flat part begins to show and stop producing leaves. The first flower appears at the top of the main stem and then smaller, or secondary, flowers begin to branch out and can reach as many as 50 flowers. These flowers are small in appearence and often white with a light green or yellow tint to them. Each flower consists of 5 petals and 5 stamens.
The usual flowering period of each flower is between 7 – 10 days, so a plant can be in the process of flowering for between 30 – 50 days. After the plant has been fertilised and a seed begins to develop, the outer flowers begin bending inwards causing the shape to change from convex or flat to concave and thats when it resembles a birds nest, and that is where it gets its name from as “birds nest” rather than Wild Carrot.

Height: Up to 50cm
Flowering Time: June to August
Preferred Conditions: Wild carrot prefers sites of ungrazed / lightly grazwd short grassland. It is often found in wasteland sites or on road sides.

Wild Carrot - Daucus carota