Ontario Weeds: Wild carrot

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Scientific Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Habitat
  6. Seedlings
  7. Stems
  8. Leaves
  9. Flowers and Fruit
  10. Often Confused With / Distinguishing Features
  11. Herbicide Resistance
  12. References
  13. Related Links

Scientific Name:

Daucus carota

Other Names:

Carotte sauvage, Bird's-nest, Queen Anne's-Lace, carotte

Family:

Carrot Or Parsley Family (Umbelliferae)

General Description:

Wild carrot is a biennial or occasionally annual and sometimes a short-lived perennial, reproducing only by seed.

Habitat:

Wild carrot occurs throughout most of Ontario in old pastures, waste places, roadsides, meadows and occasionally as a weed in gardens and flower borders. The cultivated carrot was developed from wild carrot, which has a coarse, woody, fibrous, unpalatable taproot, by selecting strains having soft juicy edible roots.

Seedlings:

  • Seedlings emerge during spring and early summer
  • Two long, narrow, thin cotyledons

Stems

  • First-year plant usually stemless, with a deeply penetrating, taproot
  • Stem produced in the second year on biennial plants
  • Stem is erect, up to 1 m tall
  • Stem is branching, grooved, rough-hairy or bristly

Leaves:

  • First year, rosette of stalked, very finely dissected, hairy leaves
  • Leaves are almost identical in appearance and smell to leaves of cultivated carrot
  • Bases of leafstalks are broad and flat
  • Stem leaves are similar to basal leaves but smaller and on shorter stalks
  • Base of leafstalk is broadened and circles the stem at each node
  • First true leaf is compound with three main divisions
  • Later leaves are compound with many divisions

Flowers & Fruit:

  • Flowers white in compound umbels at tips of stem and branches
  • A whorl of several 3 to 5 branched bracts at the base of each compound umbel
  • Most flowers are white or sometimes pink, but a single flower in the centre of the compound umbel is often dark purple
  • After flowering, umbel closes, forming a "bird's-nest"
  • Seeds are gray-brown with several rows of spines by which they cling to clothing and animal fur
  • Flowers from June to September.

Figure 1. Mature seed head of wild carrot (bird's nest)

Figure 1. Mature seed head of wild carrot (bird's nest)

Figure 2. Cotyledons of wild carrot

Figure 2. Cotyledons of wild carrot

Figure 3. Wild carrot seedling

Figure 3. Wild carrot seedling

Figure 4. Compound leaves of wild carrot

Figure 4. Compound leaves of wild carrot

Figure 5. Wild carrot flower

Figure 5. Wild carrot flower

Figure 6. Close up of wild carrot flower showing the white umbels surrounding the purple umbels in the centre

Figure 6. Close up of wild carrot flower showing the white umbels surrounding the purple umbels in the centre

Often confused with/distinguishing features:

It is distinguished by its finely divided leaves, its erect, hairy stem, its white to pinkish compound umbels surrounded at their bases by whorls of slender 3 to 5 branched bracts, its bird's-nest cluster of fruits and its typical carrot odour (stems, leaves and root), and a coarse, fibrous, unpalatable root.

Herbicide Resistance

Documented resistance in Ontario to WSSA Group 4 herbicides, synthetic auxins.

References

Related Links

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Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 June 2000
Last Reviewed: 30 January 2013