|Binomial name||Daucus carota|
Other Common Names:
The other common names for the vegetable carrot are Queen Anne's lace, Philtron, Bird's Nest, Bees' Nest, Wild Carrot, Garden Carrot, Bird's Nest Weed, Bird's Nest Root and Devil's Plague.
It entered the United States about 250 years ago, probably as a contaminant of cultivated carrot seeds, and was reported in Canada about 150 years later. Daucus' is from 'daukos', which is Greek for carrot. The Carrot was well known to the ancients, and old writers tell us that a poultice made of Carrot roots had been found to mitigate the pain of malignant ulcers, and that the leaves, when applied with honey, helped cleanse running sores and ulcers. Carrot is used as both a food and a medicine, with the root, leaves and seeds used medicinally.
A biennial that is closely related to garden carrots, but with a much reduced taproot. Round stems of bolting plants are finely ribbed and have scattered white hairs; they are hollow on the inside and branch sparingly. During the second year of growth, the plants produce stalks with white, flat-topped flowers.
Wild carrot is native to Europe. It is widely distributed from Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, China and eastern India. It is thought to be native to southern Europe, though it is now cultivated throughout the United States, Canada and elsewhere.
Wild carrot grows in roadsides, waste places, meadows, pastures, and no-tillage fields. It prefers well-drained or dry soils and grows best in full sun. The plant is often associated with lime-rich soils. Habitats include thickets, degraded prairies or meadows, areas along railroads and roadsides, lawns, pastures, abandoned fields, fence rows, vacant lots, junk yards, and other waste areas.
This species usually grows in locations with full sunlight, mesic to dry conditions, and a clay-loam soil that is not too acidic. However, it will also adapt to moist conditions and other kinds of soil. Wild Carrot is aggressive and can be difficult to destroy. It often survives mowing and hand-pulling of plants by the rootstocks. This is because the deep taproot is difficult to remove and stores considerable energy to initiate new growth. Seeds are sown in August/September or April in situ. The seed germinates better if it is given a period of cold stratification. The seeds frequently adhere to one another by means of the forked hairs which surround them. These hairs can be removed by rubbing through the hands or a fine chaff sieve. The seeds should then be mixed with about twice the bulk of dry earth, sand or sifted ashes (about one bushel of seeds to 4 or 5 lb. of sand).
When the ground is thoroughly prepared and has been firmly trodden, draw flat-bottomed drills from north to south, 1/2 inch deep and 3 inches wide. Distribute the seed along the row evenly and thinly and cover lightly. Carrots can hardly be covered too lightly, 1 inch of fine soil is quite enough, and for ordinary use they may be sown in drills one foot apart, but if extra large roots are desired, more room must be given between the rows. As soon as the young plants are large enough to handle they may be thinned to 6 inches or 8 inches apart. The thinning may be at first to a distance of 3 inches, and then a final thinning later, the second thinnings being used as young Carrots for culinary purposes. Frequent dustings of soot will greatly benefit the crop. Light hoeings between the rows to keep the crop free from weeds is all that is necessary during the period of growth. Partial shade from other crops is often found beneficial.
The whole herb of carrot is used for its commercial and medicinal purposes.
Flowers are produced from July to September during the second year of growth.
Pests and Diseases
The carrot is affected by a number of pests and diseases like leaf blight which first appears as indefinite brown to black areas with pale yellow centers. Infected leaves shrivel when infection is heavy. Leaf Spot (fungus - Cercospora carotae) may occur at any position on the leaf but is most common on margins. Powdery mildew affects the surface of leaves where they are covered by a white mass of the fungus, which has a powdery texture. Like many other vegetables, carrot seedlings are susceptible to several species of soilborne fungi, particularly during the periods of cool, wet weather. Infected seedlings wilt, turn brown and die, resulting in poor stands. Southern Blight (fungus - Sclerotium rolfsii) occurs close to harvest and is associated with warm temperatures that follow heavy rains.
An infusion of the herb is used as a treatment for fluid retention, and the powdered seeds are sometimes made into a tea taken to relieve colic.
• Carrot roots had been found to mitigate the pain of malignant ulcers, and that the leaves, when applied with honey, helped cleanse running sores and ulcers.
• An infusion of the whole herb was considered an active and valuable remedy in the treatment of dropsy, chronic kidney diseases and affections of the bladder.
• Carrot is considered carminative, stimulant and very useful in cases of flatulence, windy colic, hiccups, dysentery and chronic coughs.
• Raw Carrots are sometimes given to children for expelling worms, and the boiled roots, mashed to a pulp, are sometimes used as a cataplasm for application to ulcers.
• A poultice made of the roots has been found to mitigate the pain of cancerous ulcers, and that the leaves, applied with honey, cleanse running sores and ulcers.
• Carrot seeds are excellent in obstructions of the viscera, and in jaundice.
• The plant is also used to encourage delayed menstruation and induce uterine contractions.
• It contains much sugar, and a spirit has been prepared from it.
• It can be eaten raw or cooked.
• The aromatic seed is used as flavouring in stews etc.
• The dried roasted roots are ground into a powder and are used for making coffee.
• Sometimes it is used in salads.
• It is used in perfumery and as food flavouring.
• The oil has also been used cosmetically in anti-wrinkle creams.
'Carrot' is Celtic meaning 'red of colour'. The are numerous legends about how this plant became associated with and was named after Queen Anne, wife of King James I of England. Devil's plague was a common name given by farmers who found this weed difficult to control; rantipole means rude and reckless. It is not known if there are benefits associated with having a purple flower located in the center of some flower clusters. A study showed that insects were neither attracted nor repelled by the presence or absence of the flower.The first year roots of wild carrot are reported to be edible, but care must be taken to not mistake poison hemlock for wild carrot.
Folklores says that eating carrots is good for your eyes.The idea that eating carrots could improve your eyesight received its biggest promotion during World War II.The British Air Ministry attributed the fact that its night fighter pilots were successful at shooting down German pilots because of a special diet including a large amount of carrots. The German intelligence actually fell for the story. The real reason for the success was due to a line of radar masts on the southern and eastern coasts of England, which could detect bombers up to 100 miles away. The British invented the story to cover up the real reason for their success.