Daucus carota

Common Names: Queen Anne's lace, wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Carrot family

Domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus. A teaspoon of crushed Queen Anne's Lace seeds has long been used as a form of birth control; its use for this purpose was first described by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago.

A variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall. The umbels are claret-colored or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3 to 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, Daucus carota 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.

Found in fields and near roadsides and waste areas. Blooms from June to August

Primary Flower Color: White
Secondary Flower Color: Pink
Edible Notes: Like the cultivated carrot, the wild carrot root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume.
Warnings: The leaves of the wild carrot can cause phytophotodermatitis, so caution should also be used when handling the plant. Extra caution should be used since the wild carrot bears close resemblance to a dangerous species, poison hemlock.