Daucus carota L. - Queen Anne's Lace

Daucus carota plant

Family - Apiaceae

Stems - To 1m tall, erect, from large taproot, dense spreading to retrorse hispid, herbaceous, branching, single from base.

Daucus carota stemStem at a node.

Leaves - Alternate, glabrous, bipinnately divided. Leaflets pinnatifid, mucronate, with spine less than .5mm long. Lowest leaves long petiolate. Upper leaves short petiolate to subsessile.

Daucus carota leaf

Inflorescence - A compound umbel terminating stem, to +12cm wide. Inflorescence subtended by pinnately divided threadlike bracts forming an involucre. Primary rays +20, to +7cm long. Umbellets with +20 flowers.

Daucus carota bractBracts of the umbel.

Daucus carota bractletsBraclets of the umbellets.

Flowers - Corolla to +/-3mm broad. Petals 5, unequal, glabrous, white to purple. Largest petal often cleft or divided. Stamens 5, falling early. Fruit to 4mm long, 2mm broad, with dense straight or uncinate bristles.

Daucus carota flowersUn-opened flowers.

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Roadsides, railroads, waste ground, open fields.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - My friend Hope once said, "Queen Anne's Lace is to the carrot as Asian jungle fowl is to the chicken."  Indeed, Daucus carota is the wild form of the cultivated carrot. It is also a serious weed in Missouri. As the compound umbel matures it folds in on itself trapping all the spined fruits until some animal brushes the plant and is covered with the seeds.
Steyermark lists three forms of the plant. Form roseus has pink, rose, or purplish flowers. Form carota (pictured above) has white flowers with the central most flower of the umbel being dark purple. Form epurpuratus has all white flowers, none purple, as the name suggests.

Photographs taken in Vale, NC., 5-11-03, and in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 6-13-03.


Back