|Wild Carrot Quick Facts
|Daucus carota L.
|Europe, southwest Asia
|2-seeded fruits that are about 3-4 mm. long and 2 mm. across
|Acrid, disagreeable taste (Root)
D. carota was introduced and naturalized in North America, where it is often known as “Queen Anne’s lace”. Anne, Queen of Great Britain, and her great grandmother Anne of Denmark are taken to be the Queen Anne for which the plant is named. It is so called because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center is thought to represent a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny red flower, colored by anthocyanin, is to attract insects. The herb consists of beta-carotene and other properties that are used to treat bladder and kidney conditions.
Wild Carrot is an herbaceous, somewhat variable biennial plant that can reach a height of 1m (3 feet) and a spread of 30cm (1 foot). The herb is found growing in thickets, degraded prairies or meadows, areas along railroads and roadsides, lawns, pastures, abandoned fields, fence rows, vacant lots, junk yards, and other waste areas. It is often found on calcareous soil, but not restricted to it. It apparently prefers fine-particle soil and a high nutrient status, but endures a wide range of condition. The herb has small and spindle shaped root that is whitish, slender and hard. Stem is erect and branched, generally about 2 feet high, tough and furrowed.
Leaves are bipinnate-pinnatifid or pinnate-bipinnatifid in structure; their ultimate leaf segments are 3-10 mm. long, 1-4 mm. across, oblong-linear or narrowly rhombic in shape, and sometimes sparsely ciliate along their margins. The upper surface of these leaf segments is light-medium green and glabrous, while the lower surface is light green and glabrous to sparsely hairy. Both stems and leaves are more or less clothed with stout coarse hairs.
The compound umbels of flowers are 2-5 inch across and flat-topped to slightly dome-shaped. Each compound umbel consists of 20-90 umbellets, and each umbellet has 15-60 flowers. Each flower is about 2-3 mm. across, consisting of 5 white petals, an insignificant calyx, a reddish bristly ovary with a white stylopodium at its apex, 5 white stamens, and a pair of white styles. The tips of the petals are incurved. The stalklets (rays) of the umbellets are light green, angular, and slightly hairy or pubescent. At the base of each umbellet, there are a small number of bracelets that are medium green and linear in shape. At the base of compound umbel, there are several bracts that are ½–2½ inch long, medium green, and pinnatifid with linear lobes. Flowering normally takes place from Jun to August.
Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by 2-seeded fruits (schizocarps) that are about 3-4 mm. long and 2 mm. across; they are broadly ellipsoid, slightly flattened, reddish, and quite bristly. Seeds are yellowish brown to gray, flat on one side, and convex on the other side. Along the convex side of each seed, there are several longitudinal ribs with lines of bristles and stiff hairs.
History of Introduction and Spread
Wild carrot, also known as bird’s nest, bishop’s lace and Queen Anne’s lace, is native to temperate regions of Europe, southwestern Asia and North Africa, and is naturalized in North America, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. It was probably introduced to North America from Europe as a weed seed contaminant in imported grain by the earliest colonists in the early 17th century. Cultivated carrots could also have escaped from gardens to become naturalized. Wild carrot now occurs at different levels of weediness in most eastern and southern Canadian provinces and all 48 contiguous states of the USA, with reports also from Alaska and Hawaii. In Australia wild carrot is supposed to have originated in the carrot seed that was imported from the UK to the colony of Sydney between 1786 and 1798 for food production; it is now present in every state and is commonly found naturalized in coastal regions around heavily populated areas, particularly in the south east of the country and Tasmania.
Traditional uses and benefits of Wild Carrot
- The wild carrot is an aromatic herb that acts as a diuretic, soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the uterus.
- A wonderfully cleansing medicine, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys.
- The whole plant is anthelmintic, carminative, deobstruent, diuretic, galactogogue, ophthalmic, stimulant.
- An infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy.
- An infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed.
- Carrot leaves consists of significant amounts of porphyrins, which encourage the pituitary gland and lead to the release of increased levels of sex hormones.
- Warm water infusion of the flowers has been used in the treatment of diabetes.
- Grated raw root, especially of the cultivated forms, is used as a remedy for threadworms.
- Root is also used to encourage delayed menstruation.
- Tea made from the roots is diuretic and has been used in the treatment of urinary stones.
- Seeds are diuretic, carminative, emenagogue and anthelmintic.
- An infusion is used in the treatment of edema, flatulent indigestion and menstrual problems.
- Seed is a traditional ‘morning after’ contraceptive and there is some evidence to support this belief.
- An infusion of the whole herb is considered an active and valuable remedy in the treatment of dropsy, chronic kidney diseases and affections of the bladder.
- Seeds are carminative, stimulant and very useful in flatulence, windy colic, hiccough, dysentery, chronic coughs, etc.
- They are excellent in obstructions of the viscera, in jaundice, and in the beginnings of dropsies, and are also of service as an emenagogue.
- Wild Carrot is a good diuretic too and helps with water retention.
- Wild Carrot seed oil works well for indigestion, gas, and diarrhea and Wild Carrot infusion is great for kidney disease and bladder infections.
- Wild Carrot has been use for the treatment of cancer and leukemia too.
- Grated raw root is used to expel threadworms and to induce menstruation and uterine contractions.
- Wild carrots are particularly beneficial to the urinary system.
- Flower clusters can be french-fried to produce a carrot-flavored gourmet’s delight.
- Aromatic seed is used as a flavoring in stews etc.
- Dried roasted roots are ground into a powder and are used for making coffee.
- Wild Carrot has been used in malt beverages, puddings, meats, frozen foods, desserts, and even soups and stews.
- Roots are finger-thin and are used in soups, stews and in making tea.
- First year leaves can be chopped and tossed into a salad.
- Wild carrot seeds are very aromatic and may be dried and used as a spice.
A. Wild Carrot Cake
Wild carrots are especially good in carrot cake because they provide more flavor than commercial carrots do, and they’re still crunchy after cooking.
Unlike the usual cakes, in this recipe you add the icing before you bake the cake.
- Two 19-ounce packages silken tofu, drained
- 3/4 cup dates, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot or kudzu
- 2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon almond oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon liquid stevia or 2 tablespoons honey, barley malt, or rice syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups (19 ounces) sweet brown rice flour and 4 cups (1 pound) oat flour, or 35 ounces any whole-grain flour
- 1 cup arrowroot or kudzu
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons freshly ground flaxseeds (6 tablespoons seeds)
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground star anise
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 1 cup corn oil or other vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1/2 cup lecithin granules
- 2 teaspoon liquid stevia (herbal sweetener)
- 1 1/2 cups raisins
- 1 1/2 cups wild carrot taproots, grated
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the icing: In a food processor, combine the icing ingredients and process until smooth.
- To make the cake: Mix together the flour, arrowroot, ground flaxseed, spices, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- In a blender, combine the apple juice, corn oil, lime juice, lecithin granules, and liquid stevia and process until smooth. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Stir in the raisins and grated wild carrots.
- Divide the batter evenly between 2 oiled 12-inch round cake pans. Pour the icing over the cake batter in each pan. Bake the cakes until the bottom of each one is lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool on wire racks before serving. (MAKES 2 CAKES)
- Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly
- 18 Large Queen Anne’s lace heads
- 4 Cups water
- 1/4 Cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 Package powdered pectin
- 3 2/3 Cups
- Bring water to boil. Remove from heat. Add flower heads (push them down into the water). Cover and steep 30 minutes. Strain.
- Measure 3 Cups liquid into 4-6 quart pan. Add lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a rolling boil stirring constantly. Add sugar and stir constantly. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Boil one minute longer, then remove from heat.
- Pour into jars leaving 1/4″ head space. Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes. Makes about 6 jars.
- carota root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume.
- If used as a dyestuff, the flowers give a creamy, off-white color.
- This beneficial weed can be used as a companion plant to crops.
- An essential oil obtained from the seed has an orris-like scent.
- It is used in perfumery and as a food flavoring.
- The oil has also been used cosmetically in anti-wrinkle creams.
- One plant can produce 1,000 to 40,000 seeds.
- Queen Anne’s lace flowers can be used to make a natural yellow dye.
- Cows that have eaten large amounts of wild carrots may produce milk with an undesirable flavor.
- During the day, the head of the flower is facing up and during the night it is bent down.
- Leaves of the wild carrot can cause phyto-photo-dermatitis, so caution should also be used when handling the plant.
- Carrots sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people.
- Handling carrot foliage, especially wet foliage, can cause irritation and vesication.
- The root of the wild plant can induce uterine contractions and should not be used by pregnant women.