Edible Wild Plants: Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota)

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota)

Wild carrots, also called Queen Anne’s Lace, is Daucus Carota, which you may recognize is the exact species of cultivated carrot. They are exactly the same plant, differentiated only in the subspecies. By the time the carrots are wild, they are white rather than orange and are much smaller (though the greens are still full and lush.) Some people are sensitive to these greens and can have a rash reaction on their skin. The greens are edible, however, just as cultivated carrot greens are.

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota), which is such a pest in many old fields, belongs to the same species of garden carrot but its root is small and tough and there are conflicting traditions which indicate that it is scarcely edible, some people stating that it is actually poisonous.

The main reason there are conflicting reports is that there are poisonous look-a-likes that are often mistaken for Wild Carrot, please be familiar with all the characteristics of this wonderful wild edible before you enjoy them.

Wild Carrot Edible Wild Plant
Wild Carrot is a variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall and flowering from June to August. The umbels are claret-colored 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; finally, as they turn to seed, they contract and become concave like a bird’s nest. The dried umbels detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds.

Similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock, Wild Carrot is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in its center.

Mrs. Morrell, who writes from a large experience with edible wild plants in Maine, states that the roots raised from the seeds of the Wild Carrot are remarkably sweet.

Edible Parts

  • Flowers
  • Root

Uses

The root cooked. Thin and stringy.

The flower clusters can be french-fried to produce a carrot-flavoured gourmet’s delight. The aromatic seed is used as a flavoring in stews etc. The dried roasted roots are ground into a powder and are used for making coffee.

Medicinal Uses

Medicinal Uses of Wild CarrotThe wild carrot is an aromatic herb that acts as a diuretic, soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the uterus. A wonderfully cleansing medicine, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys.

The whole plant is anthelmintic, carminative, deobstruent, diuretic, galactogogue, ophthalmic, stimulant.

An infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed.

Carrot leaves contain significant amounts of porphyrins, which stimulate the pituitary gland and lead to the release of increased levels of sex hormones.

The plant is harvested in July and dried for later use. A warm water infusion of the flowers has been used in the treatment of diabetes. The grated raw root, especially of the cultivated forms, is used as a remedy for threadworms.

The root is also used to encourage delayed menstruation. The root of the wild plant can induce uterine contractions and so should not be used by pregnant women.

A tea made from the roots is diuretic and has been used in the treatment of urinary stones. The seeds are diuretic, carminative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic.

An infusion is used in the treatment of oedema, flatulent indigestion and menstrual problems. The seed is a traditional ‘morning after’ contraceptive and there is some evidence to uphold this belief. It requires further investigation. Carrot seeds can be abortifacient and so should not be used by pregnant women.

Other Uses

An essential oil obtained from the seed has an orris-like scent. It is used in perfumery and as a food flavoring. The oil has also been used cosmetically in anti-wrinkle creams.

Where Does Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Grow?

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Growing Area

How To Identify Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota)

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Seedling
Seedling

Cotyledons are linear, and may be mistaken for an emerging grass seedling. Cotyledons are without hairs, do not have petioles, and taper at both the base and the apex.

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Leaves
Leaves

A rosette of lobed, deeply dissected leaves are produced during the first year of growth. Leaves have long petioles, are without hairs on the upper surface, and may have hairs on the veins and margins of the lower surface. Leaves on the flowering stems produced during the second year of growth are alternate, oblong in outline, with lobed segments.


Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Flowers

Flowers

Many white flowers occur in a cluster where the stalks of each flower (pedicels) all arise from a common point (an umbel). However, this gives the appearance of a single, flat-topped white flower. A solitary purple flower often occurs in the center of the umbel. These umbels may curve inward at maturity producing a ‘bird’s nest’ effect.

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Stem
Stems

Produced during the second year of growth, hollow, with hairs.

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Root
Roots

Slightly thickened taproot.

Poisonous Look-a-likes

Wild carrot seedlings are similar to Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) seedlings, however the cotyledons of common yarrow are egg-shaped unlike the linear cotyledons of wild carrot. Additionally, mature Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) plants closely resemble this weed but have purple spotted stems without hairs, unlike the stems of wild carrot which are hairy and lack the purple spots.

Wild Carrot vs Hemlock

Wild Carrot (Left) and Poisonous Hemlock (Right)

Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) Videos

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota)”

  1. Teresa Conner says:

    Hi, Please clarify:

    “A tea made from the roots is diuretic and has been used in the treatment of urinary stones. The seeds are diuretic, carminative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic.

    An infusion is used in the treatment of oedema, flatulent indigestion and menstrual problems. ……”

    AN INFUSION OF WHAT? THE ROOTS, SEEDS OR THE LEAVES? I look forward to hearing from you. I’m studying herbalism and giving edible-medicinal weed walks. I need to have clearer information.

    Thank you. (I just found your website and plan to read further. I’m in Metrowest Massachusetts.)

  2. […] EmergencyOutdoors.com has a page on this plant. It includes photos to help identify it, a video, and all sorts of text, including this: […]

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