WILD CARROT

Daucus carota

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]  

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
flower
flower8pink
 
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8actino
 
morph
morph=HemiZygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZclustered
 
type
typeZumbel
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
ribbed
smell
smell8pong smell8pungent
pong

31st July 2007, Silverdale Railway Station, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Grows to 1.5m in grassy places, especially on lime, in most waste places, but in the North and West favours the coast mostly avoiding inland areas.


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
An umbellifer with white (sometimes pinkish) flowers.


31st July 2007, Silverdale Railway Station, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Has narrow bracts underneath the umbel. The umbel is 2-umbellate (an umbel of umbels).


24th July 2011, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Flowers yet to un-fold. The only common white umbellifer with narrow and forked or pinnate bracts under the umbel.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
An unusually pink and red umbel.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
The stems are solid, stiff round and ribbed. Distinctive tri-forked bracts beneath the umbel.


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
In the centre of many flower umbels is a solitary red or pink flower, a definitive feature for Wild Carrot, although not all specimens possess this element.


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
As with many other umbellifers, such as Hogweed, the petals are larger on the periphery of the umblel. Flowers yet to open fully may be pinkish.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
A few sub-umbels, each with a set of sub-bracts underneath.


Photo: © RWD
A sub-umbel, of which there are many in the umbel.


Photo: © RWD
Each flower has five petals and is highly zygomorphic, especially if the floret is on the periphery of the umbel.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
It is easier to see the two white styles on the pink/red flowered specimen. Petals are not fully opened but still folded in two down the main axis. Several anthers visible.


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The umbel of umbel structure is discernible when the flowers are yet to fully open. In the centre of many flower umbels is a solitary red or pink flower.


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
Like other Carrots, such as Sea Carrot, in the centre of many flower umbels is a solitary red or pink flower.


31st July 2011, Moses Gate Country Park, Farnworth, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Closer inspection reveals that there are sometimes more than one small red flower at the centre.


23rd July 2015, Birkdale Dunes, Sefton Coast Photo: © RWD
A sub-umbel from underneath showing the hairy ribbed ovary just below the flower.


4th Sept 2008, Seaside, New Brighton, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
When going to seed, Wild Carrot curls up the stalks bearing the umbels into a ball. (The seed head on the coastal sub-species Sea Carrot, rather than curving inwards into a rugby ball, curves outwards and downwards - not shown).


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
After flowering, the umbel curves upwards and inwards on itself into a ball.


31st July 2007, Silverdale Railway Station, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are gathered in a compact bunch near the top.


31st July 2007, Silverdale Railway Station, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Fruits have several wings from which many hooked spines project.


21st Sept 2008, Blackleach Country Pk, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The leaf stems are roughly hairy. Leaves are feathery and 3-pinnate


3rd Aug 2007, Failsworth, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
Leaves hairy and often grey-green.


Similar to : A great many other umbellifers, apart from certain unique characteristics itemised below.

Many similarities to: Sea Carrot, but that is stouter and stockier, usually with an umbel that is almost globed, where the bracts under the umbel are wider, the fruits do not curl up into a ball but are flat instead, has darker-green leaves and only grows near the sea.

Wild Carrot is split into three sub-species:

  • Wild Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. carota). Root not swollen
  • Sea Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. gummifer) umbels not contracted in fruit. Root not swollen. Grows near the coast in the South and South-west on the mainland Britain, and on the coast of SE Ireland.
  • Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) Intrd-natd, garden origin. Root swollen (the carrot)
Only the last, Carrot, has roots which swell in the first year called carrots. It is cultivated in gardens, allotments and grown as a crop plant by farmers on the Sefton Coast and inland in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Eaten by people and rabbits.

Wild Carrot and all its' sub-species are distinguished from other Umbellifers by their unique tri-forked or pinnate bracts around each umbel of umbels.

Some similarities to : the rare Bladder-seed (Physospermum cornubiense) which has similarly shaped leaves, but they are of a lighter green.

In the very centre of the umbel of flowers lies a single but small pink or red flower (not always present) set amongst all the white ones (but Sea Carrot also has this feature). However, the red flower at the centre may not be exclusively indicative of Carrot; some other umbellifers may have one such as Angelica.

Distinguishing Feature : Once the flower umbel has flowered, the whole umbel curves upwards and inwards upon itself into a tight ball of stems and fruits. Sea Carrot does not do this.

When the flower umbel first opens, the flowers are pink, but gradually turn white as the flower matures apart from one or two in the very centre which turn a darker shade more like that of claret wine. The remaining red one(s) are thought to help attract insects to aid pollination. The leaves smell pungent when crushed.

Although the outer petals of the outer flowers in the umbel have larger petals, so too do a number of other umbellifers, so this feature alone is in-sufficient for identification.

The roots, just like garden carrots, are rich in carotene and vitamin-C but are not orange-coloured, they are white. Cultivated carrots were originally as purple as beetroot, but those were bred out in favour of orange carrots, but other colours are nowadays making a come-back.

β-CAROTENE


Carotene, an orange dye, can be obtained from the roots. Carotene is present in, and responsible for, the colour of a number of other vegetables, including tomatoes and beetroot, but in the case of the latter two, is not the only dye present, and in the case of Beetroot is not even the dominant dye. Carotene comes in two main forms, β-carotene and α-carotene, although other forms exist. It is a good anti-oxidant.

Carotene has an important role in photosynthesis.

VITAMIN A



Vitamin A, Retinal, is also produced within the roots of carrots, being half of carotene, but with a terminal hydroxyl group.

POLYACETYLENES IN CARROT

A neurotoxic polyacetylene called Carotatoxin is found in Wild Carrot at a concentration of 2mg/kg weight, and is similar to other polyacetylenes Cicutoxin and Oenthotoxin which also have 17 carbon atoms and which are found in some other Umbellifers (Apiaceae). It is also to be found in cultivated carrots, but is not normally a problem for consumers (and in any case, it is likely that the amount of polyacetylenes in cultivated carrots has been bred to be lower than that found in Wild Carrot. It has been demonstrated that the polyacetylenes present contribute to the bitter taste of carrots.

Besides Carotatoxin, four other polyacetylenes occur widely in Apiaceae and Araliaceae species; being Falcarindiol, AcetylFalcarindiol Falcarinol, and Falcarinolone, all of which are present in Carrots (and Wild Carrot), although the Falcarinolone may be present only as an artefact derived from the auto-oxidation of Falcarindiol.

Carotol is an aromatic sesquiterpene alcohol present in the seeds of Carrot at about 40% - 50% concentration. Within the seeds it may be involved as an anti-fungal, herbicidal and insecticidal agent. It consists of two fused rings, one 5-membered, the other 7-membered, with several side groups and an -OH moiety.

Myristicin, a phenylpropanoid, is also present in Carrots, Parsley and Dill but occurs in much larger amounts in Nutmeg. It is a naturally occurring insecticide and aracicide and also has anti-cholinergic effects discernible when raw Nutmeg is eaten and is the chemical responsible for the toxic properties of Nutmeg. It is chemically similar to Dillapiole which is found in Dill and Fennel.


  Daucus carota  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Apiaceae  

Distribution
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genus8daucus
Daucus
(Carrots)

WILD CARROT

Daucus carota

Carrot Family [Apiaceae]  

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