Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Daucus carota - Wild carrot

Family: Apiaceae - Carrot [E-flora]

Habitat / Range: "Roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland zone; common in SW BC, known from SE Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and adjacent mainland, also known from Vernon; introduced from Eurasia." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]

"Daucus carota is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure." [PFAF]

"Wild carrot (a.k.a. Queen Anne's lace) is an introduced member of the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) that is native to Eurasia. It is found in North America in disturbed sites in most US states and several Canadian provinces (USDA 2010). In British Columbia, it is common in the southwestern corner of the province (SE Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and adjacent mainland) and is also found in the south-central region (including Kelowna, Vernon, and adjacent areas).
Wild carrot is a relatively small biennial species (up to 1m tall) with a well-developed taproot. It is summer flowering (July through to September in BC). The inflorescence is white (sometimes yellowish) and is comprised of numerous compact umbels of flowers, 3-7 cm wide. A conspicuous central purple or pink flower is often present. Leaves are bipinnate and fern-like in appearance. The root of this species smells like carrot." [E-flora]

"Notes: Wild carrot is considered an emerging invasive species by the Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council (2009). An emerging invasive is defined by them as: currently found in isolated, sparse populations but are rapidly expanding their range within the region. Wild carrot is the wild ancestor of the cultivated carrot (Pojar and MacKinnon 1994)." [E-flora]


"Daucus has been reported to contain acetone, asarone, choline, ethanol, formic acid, HCN, isobutyric acid, limonene, malic acid, maltose, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, pyrrolidine, and quinic acid. Reviewing research on myristicin, which occurs in nutmeg, mace, black pepper, carrot seed, celery seed, and parsley, Buchanan (J. Food Safety 1: 275, 1979) noted that the psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties of mace, nutmeg, and purified myristicin have been studied. It has been hypothesized that myristicin and elemicin can be readily modified in the body to amphetamines. Handling carrot foliage, especially wet foliage, can cause irritation and vesication. Sensitized photosensitive persons may get an exact reproduction of the leaf on the skin by placing the leaf on the skin for awhile, followed by exposure to sunshine[269]." [PFAF] "The drug [Root] has a low potential for sensitization through skin contact." [PDR]

"Wild carrots cause dermatitis on contact with some people, especially when the plants are wet, but cultivated carrots will sometimes have the same effect." [Wildman] "Carrots sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people[46]. Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people[218]." [PFAF]

"Unfortunately, the wild carrot has deadly poisonous relatives that closely resemble it. Do not eat wild carrots until you've had extensive foraging experience. Stick to species with no poisonous lookalikes. People have confused car- rots with similar-looking poisonous plants and died or became paralyzed." [Wildman]

Edible Uses

"This plant was extensively used by the Indians. It has been reported that the roots of wild carrots are sweeter than their cultivated counterpart. We collected wild carrot roots in the latter part of July and found them tough and stringy, certainly not edible in the raw state. Perhaps if used in the spring, or if only the first-year plants were selected, this would be a good root food. D. pusillus was used in a similar fashion by the indians." [Wildman]
"Add the tender, young leaves or flowers to salads or soups. Use the leaves in stock, and saute the flowers. When the flower's petals fall off, the underlying ovaries enlarge into tiny seeds that look like hairy caraway seeds. The seed head, which resembles a bird's nest, persists through the winter and acts as a location marker. When the seeds are still slightly green, in late summer and early fall, you can collect them and use them as a seasoning. They taste like the seeds of caraway, a relative-excellent in breads, soups, and brown rice. The flavor is very strong, so a little goes a long way." [Wildman]

Other Uses

Essential oil, % dry wt: 0.24–0.28 [1]
(Aerial Part)Essential oil, % dry wt: 0.06–0.85 [1]
(Leaf)Essential oil, % dry wt: 0.065–0.13 [2]
Seed and Pericarp
Mass of 1,000, g: 0.6 [3], 0.5–0.8 ( 1), 0.8–3.2 ( 2) [4]
Oil, % dry wt: 27.2 [3], 16.3– 26.5 ( 1), 16.4–30.2 ( 2) [4]
Essential oil, % dry wt: 0.5–4.28 [2], 0.5–2.9 [1] [LLCEOPS]

Medicinal Uses

PFAF Guest Comments
"I use the wild carrot seed to prevent conception; however I also make sure that I practice cycle monitoring and "coitus interruptus" (pulling out) and have not had to try it for "emergency" use. It has worked for 2 years so far, since I began using it. I gathered the seeds in late august from a pasture in upstate NY. To prepare, I grind 2 or 3 pinches of seed with a mortar and pestle and pour hot water over for a tea. I then swallow the seeds on the bottom with the addition of more water. I take it for 1-3 days following sex. Internet sources advise dosing over a longer time period than this, though. I am not an herbalist or scientist, but I know from my own experience that it has been working for me." [PFAF]

"Contrary to what one might expect, the folk records on the whole carefully distinguish wild Daucus carota from the cultivated plants in this particular instance. This may be because the wild plant has been found to be the more efficacious for some ailments at least. The majority of uses reported show that it has been valued pre-eminently as a diuretic, for treating dropsy, gravel or kidney complaints (Dorset,131 Somerset,132 Berwickshire133). As it was the fruitlets that were usually employed to that end (though a decoction of its rootstock was an alternative), that was presumably the unspecified function they have performed ‘medicinally’ in the Isle of Man as well.134 More localised has been the making of a poultice from the mashed and boiled rootstocks for applying to wounds and malignant, especially cancerous sores: in Britain apparently confined to the Highlands,135 where, mixed with oatmeal, it has been a favourite remedy for ‘lung disease’, too.136 In Dorset, on the other hand, a traditional treatment for a burn has been to douche that in cold water first to stop the pain and then apply scrapings from the rootstock to prevent a blister forming and hasten the healing process.137
Irish records for the diuretic uses come from Co. Dublin,138 Cork139 and Kerry,140 while the carrot poultice just described has been applied to sores and wounds in Antrim,141 and in cases of earache in some part(s) of the country left unspecified.142" [MPFT]

QUEEN ANNE’S LACE (Daucus carota L. subsp. carota) + [HMH Duke]
"Activities (Queen Anne’s Lace) — Antilithic (f; APA); Aphrodisiac (1; APA); Cardioactive (1; APA); Carminative (f; APA); Chemopreventive (1; APA); Contraceptive (1; APA); Diuretic (f; APA; CAN); Emmenagogue (f; APA); Hepatoprotective (1; APA); Hypotensive (1; APA); Myorelaxant (1; APA); Vasdodilator (1; APA)" [HMH Duke]
"Indications (Queen Anne’s Lace) — Bladder Stone (f; APA); Calculus (f; CAN); Cancer (1; APA); Cystosis (f; CAN); Diabetes (f; APA); Dyspepsia (f; APA); Gas (f; APA); Gout (f; JAD); Gravel (f; JAD); Hepatosis (1; APA); High Blood Pressure (1; APA); Lithuria (f; CAN); Nephrosis (f; APA); Ophthalmia (1; APA); Pinworm (1; APA); Water Retention (f; APA; CAN); Worm (1; APA)." [HMH Duke]
"Dosages (Queen Anne’s Lace) — 1–2 raw carrots (APA); 1–2 cups carrot juice (APA); 2–4 g dry herb, or in tea, 3 ×/day (CAN); 2–4 ml liquid extract (1:1 in 25% ethanol) 3 ×/day (CAN)." [HMH Duke]
"Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects (Queen Anne’s Lace) — Class 2b (AHP). CAN cautions that furanocoumarins are phototoxic and may cause dermatosis. 60% antifertility effects in rats are reported. Conversely, 20%, 40%, and 10% activities were exhibited by aqueous, alcoholic, and petrol extracts, respectively. Weak estrogenic and antiimplantation activity reported for seed extracts. Coumarin is a weak estrogen. Excessive doses may interfere with blood pressure, cardiac, and hormone medications. “In view of the documented estrogenic activity and potentially toxic irritant volatile oil, excessive doses of wild carrot during pregnancy and lactation should be avoided” (CAN). Seeds contain psychoactive myristicin (APA). The faces of my granddaughter and Judi’s daughter, especially their noses, turned orange after eating a full bottle of carrot baby food. Seed oil LD50 = >5000 mg/kg orl mus, LD50 = >5000 mg/kg der gpg, antispasmodic (1/10th papaverine). Cholinergic activity reported for choline, no real surprise there. A 1995 study of carrot extracts showed that it protected the liver from carbon-tetrachloride damage (APA)." [HMH Duke]

"Carotinoids: including alpha-, beta-, gamma-, zeta-carotene, lycopene
Volatile oil (very little): including among others p-cymene, limonene, dipenten, geraniol, alpha- and beta- caryophyllene
Polyynes: including falcarinol (carotatoxin) Mono and oligosaccharides: glucose, saccharose" [PDR]

Wild Carota – Daucus carota

Part: Roots Per 100 g fresh weight [PFAF?]
Protein (g) - Riboflavin (mg) - Calcium (mg) <0.1
Carbohydrate (g) - Vitamin C (mg) 24 Sodium (mg) -
Crude Fiber (g) - Vitamin A (RE) - Iron (mg) 0.1
Zinc (mg) <0.1 Molybdenum (mg) 0.1 Copper (mg) <0.1

"The wild carrot looks like its domestic counterpart. They're different strains of the same species. If you let garden carrots go to seed for a couple of generations, they'll soon revert to their wild form." [Wildman]

"Prefers a sunny position and a well-drained neutral to alkaline soil[24, 238]. A good plant for the summer meadow[24], it is a food plant for caterpillars of the Swallow-tail Butterfly[200]. This species is the parent of the cultivated carrot[200]. It can act as an alternative host for pests and diseases of the cultivated carrots. The plant has become a pest weed in N. America, where it is spreading rapidly and crowding out native vegetation[274]. The whole plant, when bruised, gives off an aniseed-like scent[245]." [PFAF]

(Mg)Magnesium and (K)Potassium dynamic accumulator. [DynamicAccumulator]

"Seed - sow August/September or April in situ. The seed germinates better if it is given a period of cold stratification." [PFAF]



  1. [E-flora], Accessed April 30, 2015
  2. [PFAF], Accessed May 1, 2015

Daucus Sp. - Carrot

"Annual, biennial, taprooted, hairy. Stem: decumbent or erect, generally ± branched. Leaf: blade oblong, pinnately dissected, segments linear to lanceolate. Inflorescence: umbels compound; bracts, bractlets generally present; bracts conspicuous, generally pinnately lobed; bractlets entire to toothed; rays generally many, spreading, in fruit incurved to form nest-like umbel. Flower: outer occasionally ± bilateral; calyx lobes 0 or evident; petals wide, white, margins occasionally ± red, tips narrowed, unequally 2-lobed. Fruit: oblong to ovate, compressed front-to-back; ribs 10, 1° thread-like, bristly, 2° winged, prickly; oil tubes 1 beneath each 2° rib; fruit axis entire or notched at tip.
± 20 species: America, Eurasia, northern Africa, Australia. (Greek: carrot) [Sáenz Laín 1980 Anales Jard Bot Madrid 37:481–533]" [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Daucus carota - wild carrot [E-flora]
  2. Daucus pusillus - American wild carrot [E-flora]


1. Involucral bracts with paper-like edges below; leaf segments threadlike to awl-shaped; plants introduced, coarse biennials.................. D. carota
1. Involucral bracts without paper-like edges below; leaf segments linear or lanceolate, scarcely elongate; plants native, slender annuals..................... D. pusillus

Lomatium utriculatum (Nutt.) Coult. & Rose (possibly Daucus pusillus Michx.) ("wild carrot")

""Wild carrot" roots were eaten by the Kwakiutl, as they were by their Salish neighbours (Turner & Bell, 1971). Their botanical identity is still subject to question. Boas (1921) and Hunt (1922) applied the Kwakiutl terms to several umbelliferous species. Our informants, while they remembered eating the roots, had only vague recollections of what the plants were like. Lomatium utriculatum, one of plants specified by Hunt (op. cit. ), seems to fit the morphological and habitat description best.
The plants grew on grassy rocky points of land, particularly on the small offshore islands. They were marked when the leaves were above the ground, and they were dug the following spring before they had sprouted. The turf was peeled back with a yew wood digging stick, the larger carrot roots were picked out, and the turf was replaced. Cranmer (1969) states that the whitish roots were often eaten raw and that they were sweet and tasty, but according to Boas (1921), raw carrots had a strong taste and caused diarrhoea. The carrots were placed in a flat-bottomed small-meshed basket and cooked in a steaming pit lined with dry eelgrass and fern leaves. The pit was covered with old mats and the carrots were allowed to cook for several hours. They were eaten dipped in oil. Only the right hand could be used to eat them. One was allowed to drink water afterwards. In more recent times carrot roots were boiled in kettles (Boas, 1921)." [Turner&Bell2]


  1. [Jepson] 2013. Daucus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Jan 28 2015

Daucus pusillus - American wild carrot

Habitat / Range
"Dry rock outcrops and grassy sites in the lowland zone; locally common on SE Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and adjacent mainland; S to MO, SC, FL and MX." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

"Daucus pusillus is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. The seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure." [PFAF]

"General: Slender annual herb from a slender taproot; stems single, 50-70 (90) cm tall, stiff-hairy throughout." [IFBC-E-flora]


Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Dried and smoked to treat paralysis caused by water on the brain; tea of the seeds drunk for sore throat. [0][Ethchumash]


Seed and Pericarp
Mass of 1,000, g: 1.0 ( 1), 1.7 ( 2) [1]
Oil, % dry wt: 22.7 ( 1), 22.0 ( 2) [1]
Iodine value, % J2: 117.0 ( 1), 116.0 ( 2) [1]
Composition (GLC, Ag+ TLC), %: 16:0 – 4.3; 18:0 – 1.5; 18:1(6) – 70.6; 18:1(9) – 9.6; 18:2 – 13.4; 18:3 – 0.1; others (3) – 0.3 ( 1); 16:0 – 4.2; 18:0 – 0.2; 18:1(6) – 80.1; 18:1(9) – 4.3; 18:2 – 10.8; others (1) – 0.1 ( 2) [1]
Seed and Part of Pericarp
Mass of 1,000, g: 0.8 [2]
Oil, % dry wt: 27.1 [2] [LLCEOPS]

"We have very little information on this plant, but it can be grown outdoors at least in southern Britain and probably in the north as well. It is likely to need a well-drained soil in a sunny position[K]." [PFAF]

"Seed - sow August/September or April in situ. The seed germinates better if it is cold stratified, therefore the autumn sowing is liable to be more successful." [PFAF]


  1. [E-flora], Accessed May 1, 2015
  2. [Krochmal] Useful Native Plants in the American Southwestern Deserts, A. KROCHMAL, S. PAUR ANYP. DUISBERG, Economic Botany
  3. [PFAF], Accessed May 1, 2015

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