Daucus Carota (Wild Carrot) Taxonomy, Description & Medicinal Uses

Wild Carrots - Daucus Carota Subsp. Sativus Carrot
Wild Carrots (Daucus Carota)

Daucus carota, commonly known as a wild carrot is a complex plant species that comprises of wild and cultivated species. It consists of 13 subspecies that comprises of 12 wild taxa and one cultivated taxa. It is a herb plant that can be annual or biennial and propagates through seed. Daucus carota is the wild variety while Daucus sativa is the cultivated variety. Both show great resemblance and thus are confused.

The seed of wild carrot plant is used for making oil which is used to make medicine. Its root is edible raw and cooked. Wild carrot oil is used as flavouring agent in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, soups, baked food, meat and meat products, etc.

Wild carrot seed oil as both medicinal and commercial uses. It is used to treat urinary tract infections, gout, diarrhoea, ingestion, worm infestation, etc. It also acts as a nerve tonic.

Wild carrot oil extracted from seeds is used as a fragrance in different toiletry items such as soaps, detergents, etc.

Quick Review

Botanical Name Daucus carota
Common Name Wild carrot and Carrot
Major Group Dicot
Family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Genus Daucus
Species Carota
Symbol DACA6
Common Name Wild carrot plant
Legal Status It is listed in U.S. Federal Government and State list as a noxious weed. In Minnesota, the propagation and sale of wild carrot plant are prohibited. It is a Restricted Noxious Weed.
Known Hazards Leaves are considered poisonous. It causes some allergic reactions that lead to dermatitis and photosensitization in photosensitive people.

Synonyms & Vernacular Names

Common Name Wild Carrot, Bird’s Nest Root, Bishop’s Lace, Queen Anne’s Lace, Devils Plague, Bee’s nest Plant, Yarkuki, Carotte Commune, Carotte Sauvage, Dauce Carotte, Daucus, Daucus carota, Garijara, Nan He-Shi, Nid d’Oiseau, Queen Anne’s Lace, Shikha-Mula, Zanahoria Silvestre, Carotte, Carrot, Zanahoria
Botanical Name Daucus carota
English Name Carrot
Hindi Name Gajar
Sanskrit Name Dindiramodaka, gajara, gajida, garijara
Chinese Name Ye hu luo bo
Urdu Name Gajar
Telugu name Gajjar-gedda
Tamil name Karttukkilangu
Marathi name Gajar
Kannada name Manjal, mulangi
French name Carotte
German name Karotten, Wilde Mohre
Spanish name Zanahoria
Daucus Carota Subsp. Carota
Daucus Carota Subsp. Carota

Botanical Description

Wild carrot plant is an obnoxious weed that grows easily in full sunlight. It can grow in grasslands, weedy meadows, wastelands, along roadsides, etc. It is native to Europe. Being a weed of invasive character, it possesses a threat to the native grassland species.

Plant Taxonomy

Kingdom PLANTAE
Subkingdom VIRIDIPLANTAE
Infrakingdom STREPTOPHYTA (Land Plants)
Super Division EMBRYOPHYTA
Division TRACHEOPHYTA (TRACHEOPHYTES or Vascular Plants)
Sub Division SPERMATOPHYTINA (SPERMATOPHYTES or Seed Plants)
Class DICOTYLEDONAE
Subclass ROSIDAE
Order APIALES
Family APIACEAE
Genus Daucus – wild carrot
Species Daucus carota L. – Queen Anne’s lace

Daucus Carota Plant Description

Type of Plant Biennial
Native Range (Geographic Distribution) This plant is native to the temperate regions of Europe, southwestern Asia and North Africa.
Height (grows up to) 30–70 cm
Habitat (a type of environment) – The type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives or occurs. It can grow on a variety of habitations such as grasslands, gardens, disposal sites, along roadside, meadows, wastelands, railway stations, etc.
Roots It has thick taproot which is white or brownish white in colour. It is bitter in taste.
Stem The stem is erect, herbaceous, green, solid and hairy.
Leaves Leaves are alternate, stalked, blade ovate and pinnate. Leaflets are lobed and bright greyish green in colour. Leaflets are also soft-haired.
Flowers Flowers are hermaphrodite and in the form of compound umbel inflorescence. Flowers are small flowers with deep purple florets in the centre. The flower consists of five petals, sepals, or tepals. Corolla is regular (where outer corollas are zygomorphic and bigger) (4-7) mm in size and white, yellowish or reddish in colour. Bracts of primary umbels long and pinnately lobed while the secondary umbels have bracteoles.
Fruits Fruits are oval and flattened from the sides with 2–4 mm length. Fruits are schizocarps, reddish in colour and brittle when dry. They do not open when ripe.
Seeds Mature seeds are yellowish brown to grey in colour. These are flat on one side while convex on the other side with stiff hairs.
Bloom Time It flowers in June to August.
Bloom Description The main bloom time is late summer and the bloom colour is white and purple. The flower blooms in June to August and seeds ripen from August to September.
Sun Requires full sunlight or partial sunlight for proper growth. It cannot grow in shady places.
Water Requires well drained and moist soil for growth.
Maintenance The maintenance of this plant is easier as it is ubiquitous in nature. Due to deep-rooted taproot system, it is difficult to uproot the plant.
Suggested Use The plant has medicinal and commercial importance.
Flower The flower is edible after cooking. It is also used for extraction of essential oil.
Leaf Essential oils are extracted from the leaves.
Attracts This plant attracts flies, beetles and bees for nectar and pollen. It is known to attract wildlife.
Tolerate It can tolerate alkaline soil and maritime exposure.
Invasive Potential Wild carrot is a weed native that can grow very fast. It produces seeds in large numbers and multiplies vigorously. It is potentially invasive and can rapidly outnumber the native population.
Growing Season It grows well in  Autumn and Spring season.
Propagation Seed propagation

Distribution & Ecology

Wild carrot plant is a ubiquitous and notorious weed that can grow in a wide variety of habitats such as rough grasslands, wastelands, meadows, etc.

The invasive potential of this plant destroys the native vegetation and difficult to manage it. It attracts flies, bees and other insects for nectar and pollens.

It also acts as food for caterpillars of swallowtail butterflies. The flower heads look very showy like bird nest and attract birds and insects.

Daucus Carota Subsp. Sativus Leaves
Daucus Carota Subsp. Sativus Leaves

Ethnobotany

Daucus carota is used as an alternative medicine for centuries. It was used as a birth controlling agent many centuries back. It also has its name in the loss of plants that were grown in the Royal Garden of Babylon in 8th century BC. It is also known as an aromatic herb for ages.

Propagation

It propagates through seeds.  Seeds are sown in August or September or in April. Cold stratification gives better seed germination.

Edible Uses

Daucus carota roots are eaten raw and cooked. The seeds are used as aromatic agents in food items. The dried roots are roasted and used to make coffee. It is also used for making salads and stews. Flowers are mixed with thick batter and deep fried as fritters. Fresh flowers are also used for making jelly and seeds are used as toppings on bread.

Edible Parts

Flowers and leaves are the edible part of this plant. The upper portion of the plant is also used for essential oil extraction.

Daucus Carota Subsp. Sativus
Daucus Carota Subsp. Sativus

Medicinal Uses of Daucus Carota

Wild carrot has been used since ages to cure many human diseases. It acts as a diuretic and treats many urinary system problems such as kidney stone, water retention, etc by removing waste by the kidney. It also soothes the digestive tract and cures many digestive disorders such as indigestion, gas formation. It is a natural cleanser of the body and cleanses the digestive system and urinary system. It is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-flu, anti-anxiety, antispasmodic, etc. It causes contraction of the uterus so should not be consumed by pregnant women.

Medicinal Parts

  • roots
  • seeds
  • Leaves
  • Flowers

Other Uses

Daucus carota is used as a flavouring agent in many food items such as baked food, meat and meat products, etc. Roots are also used to make coffee. A solution made from seeds and roots is for making an insecticide. The essential oil derived from this plant is used to make anti-wrinkle creams. This plant is also cultivated for ornamental purposes.

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