The Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)
When it comes to carrots, many people might not think that they are very interesting. But they would be wrong. In fact, let's discuss the wild carrot, which the common carrot we eat is a subspecies of, and how they are widely used in various aspects of our lives.
Physical description and Behavior
The wild carrot is a biennial plant that grows upwards of 2 feet tall. The stalk is covered in what looks like fuzz, and its leaves are lacy and thin. It is often known as Queen Annes Lace due to the intricate looking white flowers at the very top.
Unlike the carrots that we eat today, the wild carrot is barely edible. In fact, you can only eat the roots of it when it is young, as waiting for it to grow would make it too rough and fibrous. In fact, every single part of this plant is edible, including the flowers, and low quantities of the leaves.
They also have a variety of uses. For instance, they are used as a beneficial weed, which ca help people when gardening. Also, the flowers can be used to dye fabrics in an off-white color. Interesting fact: the domestic carrot used to come in a variety of colors, such as purple, red, white, yellow, and black. The common orange color we see today is actually bred into it.
Habitat and Location
This carrot is found all over the world, as it is considered an invasive species. However, it seems to be native to Europe, southwestern Asia, and North Africa. This, as well as its edibility, is why so many cultures have worked to breed this plant into a much easier to eat variety.
The IUCN considers this species to be of least concern, so it does not seem to be threatened.
Here is an awesome video showing you how to harvest these carrots if you wanted to add some to a soup or stew: