June 28, 2017

Ode to a Lacy Carrot

Daucus carota - Queen Anne's lace or wild carrot | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Daucus carota – Queen Anne’s lace or wild carrot | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

If you were to dig up a Daucus carota plant, you would find it has a carrot-like taproot. Which isn’t surprising since one of its common names is wild carrot, while a subspecies of D. carota (subsp. sativus) is the domesticated carrot eaten around the world. Probably best known in Maine as Queen Anne’s lace, this non-native plant with the lacy foliage was introduced to North America as a medicinal herb. The young taproot is edible, but it quickly grows fibrous and inedible as the plant matures. D. carota can be found throughout all of the continental United States, inhabiting fields and meadows. A biennial, it flowers and sets seed in its second year.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.

In 2012, Glen began working to catalog the plants of Baxter State Park, which you can read about here and find out how to sponsor a plant of your own. Courtesy of a poll taken in 2012, Garden Maine is sponsoring this lovely plant.