Carrot

Daucus carota L.

Order: Apiales

Family: Apiaceae

Names:

Daucus
Carota
Carrot

Other Names:

Wild Carrot.

Summary:

A perennial vegetable with a large, swollen, orange taproot and long slender stems carrying umbrellas of many white flowers with a central purple flower in summer. The fruits have short spines and the leaves are once or twice divided into narrow segments. Wild specimens tend to be more hairy than the cultivated varieties.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two. 20-30 mm long, narrow, parallel sided, smooth, and green on both surfaces, mid vein obvious on the lower side as a green line. No distinct petiole. Hypocotyl tinged pinkish brown.

First leaves:

First leaf has a 30 mm long petiole with 3 main lobes, about 10 mm diameter, that are divided into 3 more lobes and these have 1-3 segments.

Leaves:

Forms a rosette. Alternate. Carrot like smell when crushed.
Stipules -
Petiole - Nearly as long to longer than the blade, clasps the stem. Petioles on stem leaves are shorter. Short spreading hairs.
Blade - Up to 150 mm long, thin, divided twice into segments that are egg shaped to oblong and lobed. Segments have short sharp tips. Green on top and greyish green underneath. Hairless on top, short hairs on the veins and edges underneath.
Bud leaves erect, with the segments tightly folded along the midrib.

Stems:

Erect, stout, 200-2000 mm tall, branched, hollow, vertical ribs. Sparsely hairy.

Flower head:

Large compound, flat topped umbel, 40-80 mm wide with 30-60 thin, rigid branches that are bent inwards at maturity. Clusters of 15-25 flowers at the ends of branches. Bracts subtending branches are many lobed and those subtending branchlets are single or the outer ones are 3 lobed.

Flowers:

White or pink. Small in flat topped clusters 60-150 mm wide.
Ovary -
Sepals - Short.
Petals - White or pink with inflexed tips.
Stamens -
Anthers -

Fruit:

Two segmented. Egg shaped, slightly flattened on the back, 3-4 mm long with prickles on the secondary ribs. Prickles at the very top are barbed and the rest are simple. Fruitlets 7 ribbed. 3 primary ribs on the back are hard to see and have spreading bristles. 4 secondary ribs are obvious, each with a single row of long prickles. 6 vittas.
Fruit segments yellowish brown, convex, 2-4 mm long, oval in outline with longitudinal bristly ribs.

Seeds:

Held within the fruit. Flat along the seam. Carpophore persistent and 2 lobed.

Roots:

Taproot. Fleshy, orange rootstock with fine feeder roots.

Key Characters:

Stout biennial.
Leaves deeply divided.
Flowers in compound umbels.
Umbel rays numerous and finally bent inwards.
Fruit prickly on the secondary ribs, slightly compressed dorsally, vittas present.
Seed flat along the commissure.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual or biennial. Seed is planted at most times of the year and the crop is ready for harvest in 3-5 months.

Physiology:

Optimum temperature is 15-180
Temperatures below 100C cause bolting (the production of the seed stalk).

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

November to April in SA.
Summer in WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

A number of commercial varieties exist.

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread mainly by intentional planting.

Origin and History:

Eurasia and Northern Africa.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate. Mediterranean.

Soil:

Prefers well drained sandy or loamy friable soils with a pH of 5.5-6.5.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Cultivated vegetable

Detrimental:

Weed of roadsides and disturbed areas.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Pests include Aphids, Cutworms, Vegetable Weevil and Root Knot Nematode.
Diseases include Alternaria Leaf Spot, Bacterial Blight, Carrot Motley Dwarf Virus, Cavity Spot, Cercospora Leaf Spot, Crown Rot, Phytophthora Root Rot and Sclerotinia Rot.

Related plants:

Australian Carrot (Daucus glochidiatus)

Plants of similar appearance:

Bishop's Weed or Queen Anne's Lace (Ammi majus) doesn't have the single purple flower in the middle of the umbel, has spineless fruit and is hairless.

References:

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P659. Diagram.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P82-83. Photo.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #416.1.

Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P143.

Stucky, J.M. (1981). Identifying Seedling and Mature Weeds Common in the South-eastern United States. (The North Carolina Agricultural Research Service and The North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service, North Carolina State University, Raleigh). P124-125. Diagrams. Photos.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.