The Wild Carrot

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Original Wild Carrot - Queen Anne's Lace

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Health properties Name Origins

Qal Jelly

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Decoction Cocktail! Chemical Constituents Life Cycle
Wild Control Avoid Poison Biology Photos
Infusion Natural Dye Uses for Carrot pulp Fudge
WARNING - Please do not attempt to use these recipes and methods if you cannot positiwild carrot flower stemvely identify and distinguish Queen Anne's Lace from poison Hemlock, as Hemlock is extremely poisonous and looks very similar. How to tell - click here; More information here from Purdue Extension (pdf)

Read about the work done on adapting vegetable crops for climate change and how scientists are adapting ancient wild carrots. Here.

The Wild Carrot, Daucus carota, whose common names include wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace, and Queen Anne's lace (North America), is a white, flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe and southwest Asia, and naturalized to North America and Australia. Domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus.

The plant is a herbaceous, somewhat variable biennial plant that grows between 30 and 60 cm (1 and 2 ft) tall, and is roughly hairy, with a stiff, solid stem. The leaves are tripinnate, finely divided and lacy, and overall triangular in shape. The leaves are bristly and alternate in a pinnate pattern that separates into thin segments. The flowers are small and dull white, clustered in flat, dense umbels. The main identifier is the hairy stem of the wild carrot.

Plant description

Wild Carrot is an herbaceous, somewhat variable biennial plant that can reach a height of 1m (3 feet) and a spread of 30cm (1 foot). The herb is found growing in thickets, degraded prairies or meadows, areas along railroads and roadsides, lawns, pastures, abandoned fields, fence rows, vacant lots, junk yards, and other waste areas. It is often found on calcareous soil, but not restricted to it. It apparently prefers fine-particle soil and a high nutrient status, but endures a wide range of condition. The herb has small and spindle shaped root that is whitish, slender and hard. Stem is erect and branched, generally about 2 feet high, tough and furrowed.


Leaves are bipinnate-pinnatifid or pinnate-bipinnatifid in structure; their ultimate leaf segments are 3-10 mm. long, 1-4 mm. across, oblong-linear or narrowly rhombic in shape, and sometimes sparsely ciliate along their margins. The upper surface of these leaf segments is light-medium green and glabrous, while the lower surface is light green and glabrous to sparsely hairy. Both stems and leaves are more or less clothed with stout coarse hairs.


The compound umbels of flowers are 2-5 inch across and flat-topped to slightly dome-shaped. Each compound umbel consists of 20-90 umbellets, and each umbellet has 15-60 flowers. Each flower is about 2-3 mm. across, consisting of 5 white petals, an insignificant calyx, a reddish bristly ovary with a white stylopodium at its apex, 5 white stamens, and a pair of white styles. The tips of the petals are incurved. The stalklets (rays) of the umbellets are light green, angular, and slightly hairy or pubescent. At the base of each umbellet, there are a small number of bracelets that are medium green and linear in shape. At the base of compound umbel, there are several bracts that are ½–2½ inch long, medium green, and pinnatifid with linear lobes. Flowering normally takes place from Jun to August.


Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by 2-seeded fruits (schizocarps) that are about 3-4 mm. long and 2 mm. across; they are broadly ellipsoid, slightly flattened, reddish, and quite bristly. Seeds are yellowish brown to gray, flat on one side, and convex on the other side. Along the convex side of each seed, there are several longitudinal ribs with lines of bristles and stiff hairs.


Species information: jacob sturm carrot illustration

Scientific name: Daucus carota subsp. L.

Taxonomy -

Class: Equisetopsida Subclass: Magnoliidae Superorder: Asteranae

Order: Apiales Family:Apiaceae Genus: Daucus

Common name( s): wild carrot, carrot, Queen Anne’s lace, bird’s nest, devil’s plague

Synonym (s): Carota sylvestr is (Mill.) Rupr., Caucalis carnosa Roth more here

Conservation status: Widespread and not considered to be threatened.

Habitat: Rough grassland, coastal cliffs and dunes.

Key uses: Food and drink.

Known hazards: Wild carrot has some medical properties and is similar in appearance to poisonous species such as poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), water hemlock (Cicuta maculata) and fool's parsley (Aethusa cynapium).

Taxonomy Class: Equisetopsida

Subclass: Magnoliidae Super or der : Asteranae

Order : Apiales Family: Apiaceae

Genus: Daucus  (source for the above - Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, London UK - more information picture - Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen, Jacob Sturm und Johann Georg Sturm (1796) Original Description Echte Möhre, Daucus carota

A Curious Herbal, 1737 "containingelizabeth blackwell curious herbal 1737 five hundred wood cuts, of the most useful plants, which are now used in the practice of physick : engraved on folio copper plates, after drawings taken from the life by Elizabeth Blackwell. To which is added a short description of ye plants and their common uses in physick."

This Herbal was issued in weekly parts between 1737 and 1739, each part containing four illustrated plates and a page of text. It was highly praised by leading physicians and apothecaries (makers and sellers of medicines), and made enough money to secure her husband's freedom. (Image right)

The Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota) (a.k.a.Queen Anne's Lace) is thought to have originated on the Iranian Plateau (an area which now includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran).  It is abundant in temperate regions across the globe, particularly Western Asia and Europe, and is widely distributed across much of the United States where it is often found along roadsides, abandoned fields, and pastures.

Cultivated plant species and their sexually-compatible wild relatives often overlap in terms of geographic proximity and phenology. This overlap provides the opportunity for gene flow between crops and their wild relatives. Farmers and breeders are often concerned with the potential for wild allelic contamination into agricultural fields, which can hinder production efficiency.

In many carrot producing regions throughout the world, wild carrot populations can be found growing in close proximity to cultivated carrot fields.

Wild carrot is the progenitor of the cultivated carrot, D. carota subsp. sativus, and the two subspecies are sexually compatible. The cultivated carrot was likely domesticated in Central Asia roughly 1100 yrs ago and is grown worldwide from both open pollinated and hybrid seed.Carrot Now and then - wild and domestic

Wild Carrot mainly occurs in free-draining and slightly acidic soils on rough grassland, coastal cliffs and dunes. It frequently naturalises in fields and gardens.

It is one of many umbelliferous plants to be found growing around the world. Wild carrot appears in many temperate regions of the world, far beyond its Mediterranean and Asian centres of origin where this plant displays great diversity. It is quite possible that ancient cultures in those regions used wild carrot as a herb, and it is also quite likely that the seeds were used medicinally in the Mediterranean region since antiquity (Banga 1958).

Almost certainly the wild and early forms of the domesticated carrot were first used as a medicine before they were used as a root vegetable in the conventional sense of that term today. There is good genetic evidence that wild carrot is the direct progenitor of the cultivated carrot (Simon 2000). Selection for a swollen rooted type suitable for domestic consumption undoubtedly took many centuries.

maturing carrot nest

Maturing Carrot "Nest"

wild carrot see before maturity

Seeds just before maturity

mature carrot seeds close up

Mature Seeds

Both the wild and the cultivated carrots belong to the species Daucus carota. Wild carrot is distinguished by the name Daucus carota, Carota, whereas domesticated carrot belongs to  Daucus carota, sativus.birds nest plant

As a member of the carrot family it has a long taproot and lacy leaves. Dig up and crush a Wild Carrot root and you will find that it smells just like a carrot.

It is yellowish or ivory in colour, spindle-shaped, slender, firm and woody; a pernicious weed in some areas. It is edible when young but the root (especially the centre) soon gets tough and woody due to the high content of xylem tissue. The domestic carrot is a relative that lacks most of this tissue.

The wild carrot has finely divided leaves like that of the domesticated carrot. The leaves, petioles and flower stems may be densely hairy or have no hair. The leaves on the stem are arranged alternately. Flowering wild carrot may grow four feet tall. At the end of the stem is a primary umbel (seed head) made up of numerous individual white flowers and possibly a purple flower in the center together with drooping, narrow bracts on the underside . Plants also may have many secondary umbels produced at any node on the stem below the primary umbel.

Each flower on the umbel produces two seeds. After seed set, the umbel closes upward. Once the seeds have turned brown, they are mature. The roots of wild carrot are typically white. The characteristic odour of carrot is present when any part of the plant is crushed. wild carrot root

Spent umbels curl inwards forming a depressed cup. The fruits are covered in hooked spines, which aid dispersal by clinging to the fur of passing animals. Flowering period (in England) is from June to August and the native biennial can reach a height of 90 centimetres.

Wild Carrot is also known as Queen Anne's Lace, Birds Nest Weed, Bees Nest, Devils Plague, garden carrot, Bird's Nest Root, Fools Parsley, Lace Flower, Rantipole, Herbe a dinde and Yarkuki. Herbe a dinde derives from its use as a feed for young turkeys-dinde.

"Daucus" comes from daukos, name given by the Greeks to some members of the Umbelliferae family and it seems to derive from "daîo" : I overheat . Carota means carrot in Latin.

Take a look at some great wild carrot photos. Click here.

Can you eat carrot flowers? - Yes at your own risk! - Your best bet is to read up on survival or self sufficiency foods, a good source from people who have tried and lived to tell the tale!

As I recall from reading such a survival book, wild carrot flowers (and many others ) are edible. The big caveat is, and I cannot emphasise this too much - be absolutely sure it is Wild Carrot as it is very similar to poison hemlock (which killed Socrates!).

Deep fried carrot flower is supposed to be a delicacy -
So on that basis domestic carrot flowers should be edible too.

My friend from What's Cooking America has a useful guide for you -
And another guide for you -

You can eat tops (green leaves) of wild carrot. See carrot tops page.

The Mystery of the Purple Floret

Queen Anne’s Lace is common in North America, Europe and Asia. In the summer it produces beautiful compound flowers that form a carpet of hundreds of tiny white florets. Strangely, quite often you will find a single darkly coloured floret just off center, standing tall above the rest. No one knows why.

Botanists have debated the mystery of the coloured floret in Daucas carota (also known as “Queen Anne’s Lace,” “Wild Carrot,” “Bishop’s Lace,” and “Bird’s Nest”) for at least the last 150 years. Back then some of the most learned botanists believed that the floret was a genetic oddity that provided no service to the plant. Many modern botanists disagree. Some suspect that the coloured floret tricks flying insects into thinking that a bug is already sitting on the flower.

Perhaps this attracts predatory wasps to land hoping to snatch a quick meal. Perhaps the presence of one insect is a signal to others that there is something on this flower worth having. If so, then the floret might entice flying insects to land and thereby help pollinate the plant.

The research that’s been done so far on this question has produced contradictory results. Some naturalists argue that they have found evidence that favours the idea that the dark floret is an insect mimic. Others have presented data that suggests that the floret does nothing to help the plant increase the number of viable seeds it produces, and therefore does nothing to help it propagate its species.

By solving the great debate of its function, new knowledge about the central dark spot and its possible role as an insect attractant could lead to future developments in cultivation as well as in methods for improving agricultural processes in cultivated carrots.

Queen Anne's Lace is quite an aggressive plant. It is a biennial, so lives only 2 years, thus never forms a big root mass like daisies or other perennial wildflowers. However, it is such a prolific seeder, it does spread rapidly, and is almost impossible to eradicate. It is an alien, but one of the ones that's been in the US since colonial times. It came across the ocean in sacks of grain, probably with the Pilgrims. It's now established in every State. It's beautiful in the wildflower meadow I am not so sure in the garden.

If you want to plant it, easiest way is to gather a handful of the seeds from a plant dying down in the fall. They seem to be everywhere. But there is also another option. Try an annual named Ammi majus. It's the flower common in the cut flower trade as "Queen Anne's Lace", and is also sometimes called "Bishop's Flower." The two look very similar, but the latter doesn't last in your soil forever as Daucus does.

Seeds are available in the UK from Meadow Mania.

Photo supplied by Brad Fiero Dept. of Biology Pima Community College Tucson, Arizona

Today, in some parts of rural United States, this herb is used as a sort of morning-after contraceptive by women who drink a teaspoonful of the seeds with a glass of water immediately after sex. The seeds are also used for the prevention and washing out of gravel and urinary stones. As they are high in volatile oil, some find them soothing to the digestive system, useful for colic and flatulence. Be very, very sure that if you do decide to harvest any part of Queen Annes Lace for consumption that you have the correct plant. It is similar to Hemlock (Conium maculatum), a herb which was used medicinally but is now seldom used because of its high toxicity.

The Wild Carrot is still very much prevalent, particularly in the US where it was introduced from Europe and is the genetic source of edible carrots. Wild Carrot is found in sandy or gravelly soils and in wets areas. It is abundant west of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington where it is classed as a Class C noxious weed. Wild Carrot causes problems in pastures, hay fields, Christmas tree farms, grass seed fields and most other open areas that are not tilled annually. It is an especially serious threat in areas where carrot seed is produced because it hybridizes with the crop and ruins the seed.

Washington state has gone so far as to quarantine the plants to prevent any further escapes into its wildlands and agricultural regions. It is illegal to transport, buy, sell or distribute seed there. The penalty is a $5,000 fine.

Wild Cwild carrot and rosettearrot is easy to grow, it prefers a sunny position and a well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. Considered an obnoxious weed by some, it can spread very quickly. Its root is small and spindle shaped, whitish, slender and hard, (tender when young), but soon gets tough, with a strong aromatic smell. Harvest entire plant in July or when flowers bloom, and dry for later herb use. Collect edible roots and shoots in spring when tender. Gather seed in autumn (the fall).

There is no record of wild carrot toxicity in the US but in Europe wild carrot has been known to be mildly toxic to horses and cattle. A high concentration of wild carrot in hay is potentially a problem because livestock eat hay less selectively than green forage. Sheep appear to graze wild carrot without any harmful effect. Find out about some of the myths as to why Queen Annes Lace is so called click here.

wild carrot plantThis plant is a biennial which grows, in its second year, from a taproot (the carrot) to a height of two to four feet. The stems are erect and branched; both stems and leaves are covered with short coarse hairs.

The leaves are very finely divided; the botanical term is tri-pinnate. When a leaf is composed of a number of lateral leaflets, it is said to be pinnate or feather-like; and when these lateral divisions are themselves pinnated, it is said to be bi-pinnate, or twice-feathered. The leaves of this plant are like that but some of the lower leaves are still more divided and become tri-pinnate. The lower leaves are considerably larger than the upper ones, and their arrangement on the main stem is alternate. All of these leaves embrace the stem with a sheathing base.
wild carrot flowerThe attractive two to four inch "flower" is actually a compound inflorescence made up of many small flowers. The umbels of the flowers are terminal and composed of many rays. The flowers themselves are very small, but from their whiteness and number, present a very conspicuous appearance. The central flower of each umbel is often purple.

During the flowering period the head is nearly flat or slightly convex, but as the seeds ripen the form becomes very cup-like; hence one of the popular names for this plant is "bird's nest." The seeds are covered with numerous little bristles arranged in five rows. For more photos click here.

Like their domestic cousins, wild carrot roots can be eaten. However, they are only edible when very young. After that, they are too tough and woody. The flowers are also edible. Flower clusters can be french fried for a carrot-flavoured, quite attractive dish.

Beware Poison Hemlock! - Extreme caution must be used when collecting wild carrots; they closely resemble poisonous water hemlock (cicuta maculata), poison hemlock (conium maculatum) and fool's parsley (aethusa cynapium), all of which can be deadly. It was poison hemlock, that Socrates was compelled to take. Fortunately, there is a simple way to tell the difference.

How to tell the difference - Both poison hemlock and fool's parsley smell nasty; just roll some leaves between your thumb and forefinger, and smell. More information here.

Wild carrot, especially the root, smells like (you guessed it) carrots. Also, the stem of the wild carrot is hairy, and the stem of poison hemlock is smooth.carrot and hemlock leaves
The first year leaves of the carrot on the left and the leaves of Hemlock on the right.

Unrelated to the native evergreen hemlock tree, poison-hemlock can be deadly; it has gained notoriety through its use in the state execution of Socrates. In 399 B.C., Socrates was found guilty of heresy and corrupting the minds of Athenian youth. For this, he was sentenced to death by drinking poison hemlock. The alkaloids found within poison hemlock cause paralysis of several organs, including the respiratory system, usually within 2 or 3 hours. Eating only a tiny bit of the toxins found in poison hemlock can cause death.

Poison-hemlock can be confused with wild carrot (Daucus carota, or Queen Anne's Lace), as with many other members of the parsley family that resemble it. While poison hemlock is similar to wild carrot, their differences are numerous. Poison-hemlock has smooth hollow stalks with purple blotches and no hairs on its stems. It can get quite tall, sometimes up to 8 feet or higher. It produces many flower heads in a more open and branching inflorescence. In contrast, wild carrot usually has one red flower in the center of the flower top and is usually about 3 feet tall, or less. Poison hemlock starts growing in the spring time, producing flowers in late spring, while wild carrot produces flowers later in the summer.

Hemlock (smooth)

Queen Annes Lace (hairy)

hemlock flower

queen annes lace flower

hemlock leaf

Hemlock (above)

Queen Annnes Lace leaf

Read more about Poison Hemlock here - pdf factsheet.

Queen Anne's Lace is also considered toxic. The definition of toxic includes causing harm, detrimental to health etc, but not necessarily poisonous. Therefore contact with the skin can be toxic. Overall, most people classify the wild carrot leaf as "mildly toxic".  The leaves contain furocoumarins that may cause allergic contact dermatitis from the leaves, especially when wet. Later exposure to the sun may cause mild photodermatitis. Carrot seed is also an early abortifacient, historically, sometimes used as a natural "morning after" tea.

An infusion, or tea, made from wild carrot leaves have been recommended and used for centuries, particularly for urine/kidney problems, and ailments of the bladder. As I understand it boiling the leaves to make the infusion removes the toxic element, just like nettles - toxic when touched, lovely in a brew.

Check out the contraceptive properties click here.  Read more about the characteristics of wild carrot at the NC State University here

Queen Annes Lace assists the body in several areas -

The wild carrot is an aromatic herb that acts as a diuretic, soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the uterus. A wonderfully cleansing medicine, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys. An infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy.
An infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed. Carrot leaves contain significant amounts of porphyrins, which stimulate the pituitary gland and lead to the release of increased levels of sex hormones.
The plant is harvested in July and dried for later use. A warm water infusion of the flowers has been used in the treatment of diabetes. The grated raw root, especially of the cultivated forms, is used as a remedy for threadworms. The root is also used to encourage delayed menstruation.
The root of the wild plant can induce uterine contractions and so should not be used by pregnant women. A tea made from the roots is diuretic and has been used in the treatment of urinary stones.
An infusion is used in the treatment of oedema, flatulent indigestion and menstrual problems. The seed is a traditional 'morning after' contraceptive and there is some evidence to uphold this belief. It requires further investigation. Carrot seeds can be abortifacient and so should not be used by pregnant women. Check out the contraceptive properties click here.

Ancient folk lore said that to cure epileptic seizures you should eat the dark coloured middle flower of Queen Annes Lace. The flower is also used in ancient rituals an spells, for women to increase fertility and for men to increase potency and sexual desire!

Carrots possess strong antiseptic qualities, can be used as a laxative, vermicide (worm expelling agent), poultice and for the treatment of liver conditions. Carrots contain cholesterol-lowering pectin. U.S. Department of Agriculture research suggests two carrots a day may lower cholesterol 10 up to 20 percent.    Carrots contain anti cancer properties, by way of Falcarinol - read more.

Ordinary carrot oil is particularly suitable for dry and chapped skin and helps make the skin noticeably softer, smoother, firmer, and has been used in Europe for decades in baby oil, lip care, night creams, vitamin creams, and body lotions. Mix 4 drops of oil into 2 teaspoons of a carrier oil such as almond or apricot kernel. Read more.
Never rub neat oil directly onto your skin - any pure essential oil can burn.

Why is Queen Anne's Lace so called

The common name Wild Carrot was given by William Turner in 1548. Queen Anne's Lace is an American name, but it also refers to a plant in England, cow parsley - anthriscus sylvestris. The popular title of the Wild Carrot "Queen Anne's Lace" comes from several sources none of which is definitive. The most popular fables are set out below.

Queen Anne of Great Britain, second daughter of James II, by his first wife, Anne Hyde, was born in 1664 and was married to Prince George of Denmark in 1683. She succeeded to the crown on the death of William III., 1702. Her reign is marked by the great war of the Spanish Succession and the achievements of Marlborough, the accomplishment of the legislative union of Scotland with England, and the dashing exploits of lord Peterborough in Spain. The contention of parties during the reign of Anne was extremely violent, in consequence of the hopes entertained by the Jacobites that she would be induced by natural feelings to favour the succession of her brother, the Pretender. Her reign was also distinguished for the number of eminent writers who then flourished, several of whom rose to high stations. She died in, 1714, aged 50.

queen anne's lace flower 2 There are several anecdotes as to why the Carrot Flower is named the Queen Annes Lace.

Queen Anne's Lace: so called because one tiny purplish floret in the centre is the queen. The white florets make up her lace collar.

2. One fable associated with the name of this plant describes the occasion of Queen Anne of England (1655-1714) pricking her finger while making lace, staining the lace with blood. If you look closely, you'll notice that each large "flower" has many small white florets with a reddish/purple dot in the middle.

3. English botanist Geoffrey Grigson suggests that the name of the plant comes not from a Queen of England but from Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary and the patron saint of lacemakers.

4. The origin of the name is reputed to be based upon an English legend. Supposedly, when the future Queen Anne arrived from Denmark to became the queen of King James I of England, wild carrot was still a novelty in the royal gardens. The legend states that Queen Anne challenged the ladies in waiting to a contest to see who could produce a pattern of lace as fine and lovely as the flower of the wild carrot. The ladies knew that no one could rival the queen's handiwork so it became a triumph for Anne.

5. Queen Anne's Lace is also known as Mother Die, because if you brought it into your house, according to superstition, your mother would die.

6 The white clusters apparently reminded the British of Queen Anne's lace headdress.

For more Queen Annes Lace photos click here.   For Carrot Weed photos try here.

Queen Anne's Lace Jelly queen annes lace jelly

18 large, fresh Queen Anne's lace heads
4 Cups water
1/4 Cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
1 Package powdered pectin
3 1/2 Cups + 2 Tbsp. sugar

Bring water to boil.  Remove from heat.  Add flower heads (push them down into the water).  Cover and steep 30 mins.  Strain.

Measure 3 Cups liquid into 4-6 quart pan.  Add lemon juice and pectin.  Bring to a rolling boil stirring constantly.  Add sugar and stir constantly.  Cook and stir until mixture comes to a rolling boil.  Boil one minute longer, then remove from heat.

Add color (pink) if desired.  Skim.  Pour into jars leaving 1/4" head space.  Process in hot water bath for 5 mins.

Makes about 6 jars.

Alternative recipe and method here.

Queen Annes Lace Paperwild carrot paper

Yes you can make paper out of wild carrot roots.  Rinse the plant fibres thoroughly. Then fill a blender or food processor with water. Add the fibres and blend the mixture until the plant fibres are evenly distributed in the water. Pour the pulp into a large basin or stopped sink.

Check any good paper making website

Decoction (a concentrated liquor) - The main differences between a Decoction and an Infusion are the parts of the plant that are used and a slight variation in the procedure. You use this method for the 'hard' parts of plants; roots, twigs, bark, nuts, and some kinds of seeds.  As a matter of interest a tincture is generally made with (drinkable) alcohol (such as wine, brandy or vodka) or vinegar. They differ the most as the liquid is not heated and they are left to 'steep' for at least one month.

You will need a good cooking pot with a lid. Glass is awesome as you can watch what's happening, however if you don't have glass please use one that is porcelain lined as metals can leach into your decoction. Have ready a quart jar, about 1 ounce (1 cup will work just fine) of dried chopped herb, and about 4 cups of good, clean water.

Prepare Your Herb First, please remember that a decoction is for the hard parts of plants - roots, twigs, bark, nuts, and hard seeds. If you are working with flowers, leaves, or soft parts please use the Infusion method rather than Decoction. Wash the plant very well and chop it into pea sized parts. Place this in your cooking pot, and add all the water. Yes, you can do this with both fresh or dried herb.

Hard Boil Turn your heat up to the highest it will go and bring this to a boil quickly. Do not allow it to boil long, just get it to the point that it's bubbling. Just as soon as you see it boiling, cover the pot and remove it from the heat.

Simmer This should now be placed on a burner on the lowest heat setting. If you have an electric stove move it to a new burner set on low, an electric stove does not cool off quick enough for this procedure. Allow it to simmer for 45 - 60 minutes. DO NOT take the lid off the pot during this time (I know - that's hard to do, ha ha. That's why I like a glass pot.).

The harder the plant part, the longer it should simmer. In general, if I can bend it or if my finger nail can dent it, I go for about 45 minutes. If the plant part is as hard as a rock I go 60 minutes.

Resting Time Once you've reached the end of your simmer time completely remove the pot from all heat. Again - DO NOT take the lid off. The oils of most plants escape in steam. By leaving the lid on you capture that steam and allow it to recirculate back into the decoction. Set this aside for 2 hours leaving it totally alone.

Transfer, Set and Use After the two hours of resting time transfer the liquid and herb into your quart jar. Put the cover on it and allow it to set for 8 - 12 hours. I do this in the evening and let it set over night. Strain the herb out of your liquid and squeeze and remaining juice from the herb (if you can). I compost my spent herb but this can simply be put outside, depending on the herb used you may even want to put it around your plants.

Your mixture should be completely used after it's set time. Neither decoctions nor infusions 'keep' well. They can be refrigerated for a day, but after that should not be used. If I have something I don't use I will often (depending on what I made it for) water my house or garden plants with it.

Infusion - Infusions are often made using leafy, flowering or 'soft' parts of plants. They are steeped in water (or other non-alcoholic liquid) for 8 - 12 hours.

A simple wild carrot leaf tea - Queen Anne's Lace as a tea, helps to stop the formation of kidney stones, used as a treatment for hangovers, stimulate the flow of urine and waste of kidneys and aid in the treatment of diabetes. Supports the liver and helps with bladder diseases. It's properties consist of: Abortifacient, antiseptic, Antibacterial, astringent, Carminative, diuretic, Deobstruent, emmenagogue, stimulant, anthelmintic, carminative, mildvermifuge

Method - Steep 1 teaspoon of dried Queen Anne's Lace leaves (not the stem) in 1 cup of boiling water for about 5 -10 minutes. Strain and drink. It is said that pregnant women should not drink this.

Note that both of the above will also work with domesticated carrots, just less strong.

WARNING - Please do not attempt to use these recipes and methods if you can't positively identify and distinguish Queen Anne's Lace from poison Hemlock, as Hemlock is extremely poisonous and looks very similar.

Natural Dye Process for Daucus Carota
Choose your fabric/yarn. 
Vegetable fibres, such as cotton and linen require a mordant which allows the dye to adhere to the fabric better. Animal fibers such as wool and silk do not need to be mordanted but often are to improve and/or modify color.
Wash your fabric/yarn to remove any chemicals and dirt. A very gentle, natural soap is best. 
Mordant the fabric. 
There are many mordant options: vegetable (such as tQueen Annes Lace Wild carrot dyeannins found in oak galls and oxalic acid found in Rhubarb leaves) or mineral, from your basic salt to fairly toxic minerals. I usually use Alum in lower than recommended quantities, usually 5gr Alum for each 100gr grams of fabric/yarn. Alum is fairly harmless, when done I dispose of the water down the drain or in the garden. Weigh your fabric and in a pot large enough to allow your fabric plenty of movement add water and the alum, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium heat, add the fabric and leave for 30 minutes. Remove heat and allow it to cool in the water.
To prepare the Daucus Carota Dye.
Boil a large pot of water. As it boils cut the plants up into small pieces, about 1 to 2 inches long and add to the water. I used every part of the plant other than the root. The amount of plants you use is up to you, the more plant material you use the stronger the dye will be. Boil for 1 to 2 hours and allow to rest overnight. The following day, bring to a boil again, strain the plant material and return the now coloured liquid to the heat. 
Dye the fabric/Yarn.
Wet your fabric and add it to the pot. Gently stir the fabric. I usually keep the heat on for about 30 minutes, then remove the heat and add any wool I am dyeing. The longer you leave the fabric/yarn, the darker the colour will be. I usually leave mine overnight but for paler results, you can leave it for less time. Once you have the colour you desire (and remember that it will lighten as it dries) remove the fabric/yarn, rinse with cool water and hang out to dry in the shade.
It is important to note that natural dyes are usually less resistant to sun and laundering. I always recommend you wash items by hand with a gentle soap, such as Dr. Bronner's and keep out of the sun when not wearing the item. And of course, the fun part, should it lose some colour, is to overdye it, as was custom years ago. A friend of mine was telling me recently that she remembered her grandmother re-dyeing her clothes as they faded over time!
Additional notes.
Use a stainless steel pot to dye the fabric. You could use enamel pots too. Iron and copper pots will affect the dye colour as the minerals act as mordants and modifyers. Iron will dull the final colour and copper will give it a greener colour. Do not use copper or tin pots or mordants as they are not safe to dispose of down the drain.
The benefits of dyeing your fabric with plants are multiple. Synthetic dyes cause serious damage to both the people that work at the factories and the environment around them. However, just because the dyes come from plants, does not mean that they are safe and caution should be taken with both the dye material and the mordants used. On the other hand it is quite surprising the strength and beauty of natural dyes that are difficult to match with synthetic dyes.

(The above information and photo comes with the compliments of Jo's Loft -

Wild Carrot Cake
From The Wild Vegetarian Cookbook

Wild carrots are especially good in carrot cake because they provide more flavour than commercial carrots do, and they're still crunchy after cooking.

Unlike the usual cakes, in this recipe you add the icing before you bake the cake.

Two 19-ounce packages silken tofu, drained
3/4 cup dates, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons arrowroot or kudzu
2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon almond oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon liquid stevia or 2 tablespoons honey, barley malt, or rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups (19 ounces) sweet brown rice flour and 4 cups (1 pound) oat flour, or 35 ounces any whole-grain flour
1 cup arrowroot or kudzu
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons freshly ground flaxseeds (6 tablespoons seeds)
2 teaspoons freshly ground star anise
1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons apple juice
1 cup corn oil or other vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup lecithin granules
2 teaspoon liquid stevia (herbal sweetener)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups wild carrot taproots, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. To make the icing: In a food processor, combine the icing ingredients and process until smooth.

3. To make the cake: Mix together the flour, arrowroot, ground flaxseed, spices, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.

4. In a blender, combine the apple juice, corn oil, lime juice, lecithin granules, and liquid stevia and process until smooth. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Stir in the raisins and grated wild carrots.

5. Divide the batter evenly between 2 oiled 12-inch round cake pans. Pour the icing over the cake batter in each pan. Bake the cakes until the bottom of each one is lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool on wire racks before serving.  (MAKES 2 CAKES)

Queen Anne's Lace Cognac Cocktail

(Note: the culinary gem is its fruit. Because each fruit is so small and the harvest window is relatively short, you have to look closely to see that each cluster (birds nest) is full of hundreds of small, eye-shaped fruits.

Makes 1

For the rim: 3 tablespoons dried Queen Anne's Lace fruits

1 1/2 tablespoon fine sugar

1. Crush the dried Queen Anne's Lace fruits with the sugar and mix thoroughly. (To save effort for multiple drinks, we made a larger batch with the same 2:1 ratio.) 2. Spread the mixture on a saucer or plate that is larger than the diameter of the glass rim. 3. Moisten the rim of the glass by dipping it upside down in a shallow bowl of water and let the excess water drip off for a few seconds. 4. Dip the moistened rim in the Queen Anne's Lace/sugar mixture, pressing down firmly. The mixture should cling to the rim where moistened. 5. Gently shake off any excess.

For the drink: 2 ounces cognac (Darryl recommends a spicy Pierre Ferrand 1840)

3/4 ounces fresh Meyer lemon juice or bergamot juice

3/4 ounces honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water)

1 teaspoon dried Queen Anne's Lace fruit

1. In a cocktail shaker, combine cognac, lemon juice syrup, and ice. 2. Shake vigorously for half a minute or until chilled. 3. Pour the mixture through a strainer (to remove the queen anne's lace bits) and into the rimmed glass. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Tama Matsuoka Wong Cross-posted from Food52 - details and more information here.

Chemical constituents and their activities

This way long list of chemical constituents and their activities, contained in Wild Carrot is brought to you courtesy of Dr. James A. Duke at the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

Acetone, acetyl-choline, alpha-linolenic-acid, alpha-pinene, alpha-tocopherol, apigenin, arachidonic-acid, arginine, asarone, ascorbic-acid, bergapten, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic-acid, camphor, chlorogenic-acid, chlorophyll, chrysin, citral, citric-acid, coumarin, elemicin, esculetin, ethanol, eugenol, falcarinol, ferulic-acid, folacin, formic-acid, fructose, gamma-linolenic-acid, geraniol, glutamine, glycine, hcn, histidine, kaempferol, lecithin, limonene, linoleic-acid, lithium, lupeol, lutein, luteolin, lycopene, magnesium, manganese, methionine, mufa, myrcene, myricetin, myristicin, niacin, oleic-acid, pantothenic-acid, pectin, phenylalanine, potassium, psoralen, quercetin, scopoletin, stigmasterol, sucrose, terpinen-4-ol, thiamin, tryptophan, tyrosine, umbelliferone, xanthotoxin, and a slew of other Vitamins and minerals.

These constituents are known to have these activities:

Analgesic, Antiarthritic, Antidepressant, Antipsychotic, Antischizophrenic, Antidote, Antiinflammatory, Antibacterial, Anticonvulsant, Antidiabetic, Antiestrogenic, Antiflu, Antihistaminic, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antiepileptic, Antianxiety, Antistress, AntiPMS, Antihangover, Antiviral, Cancer-Preventive, Expectorant, Fungistat, Immunostimulant, MAO-Inhibitor, Sedative, Tranquilizer, Aphrodisiac, Sweetener, Pituitary-Stimulant, and more.

Ongoing studies are proving this to be a very valuable plant, useful in many areas of alternative medicine, a few are Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, Infertility, Asthma-preventive, most types of cancer, Diabetes, Leukaemia, HIV, Spina-bifida, Migraine headache, obesity, and much more, even the common cold. Used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years as an abortifactint, anthelmintic, carminative, contraceptive, deobstruent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, ophthalmic, and stimulant. A medicinal infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, (it soqueen annes laceothes the digestive tract), kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys.

A wonderfully cleansing medicinal herb, an infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed. The seeds can be used as a settling carminative agent for the relief of flatulence and colic. Wild Carrot leaves contain significant amounts of porphyrins, which stimulate the pituitary gland and lead to the release of increased levels of sex hormones, and stimulates the uterus.

The plant is also used to encourage delayed menstruation, can induce uterine contractions and so should not be used by pregnant women.

The seed is a traditional 'morning after' contraceptive and there is some evidence to uphold this belief. An essential oil obtained from the seed has also been used cosmetically in anti-wrinkle creams. A strong decoction of the seeds and root make a very good insecticide.

Methods of Control

Wild carrot control falls into three categories cultural, such as crop rotation; mechanical, such as tillage or mowing; and chemical, using herbicides.

Control of wild carrot may require a combination of these methods. The biology of wild carrot is a critical consideration in preventing or controlling wild carrot infestations. The ultimate goal of controlling wild carrot, regardless of the method, should be to prevent seed production because seeds are the only means of reproduction and are short-lived in the soil. Environmental implications should be considered when choosing a method of control.

Cultural Control

Crop rotation in combination with other methods is the best strategy for control of wild carrot. Including fall-planted cereals such as wheat into a crop rotation can be very helpful in reducing wild carrot infestations. Wheat will prevent or greatly reduce wild carrot seed production because wheat harvest occurs when wild carrot plants are flowering but before seed production has occurred. This reduction in seed production will reduce the number of overwintered plants in the field two years later.

Mechanical Control

Tillage effectively and consistently controls wild carrot. The entire field can be tilled or tillage can be limited to the perimeter of the field as a preventive control measure. Mowing wheat stubble to four inches in late August will cut off any new flowering wild carrot and stop seed production. This practice also reduces seed production by other weeds, and herbicide applications in early October can be made with no barrier to spray coverage. Mowing rather than applying herbicides for control of wild carrot in non-crop areas, such as roadsides and fence rows, will help prevent development of herbicide resistance. To control wild carrot in non-crop areas or pastures, mow as close to the ground as possible when 75% of the population has begun flowering.

Chemical Control

Wild carrot may be controlled by herbicides at three stages of growth: over wintered plants with early pre-plant, pre-emergence or post--emergence herbicide applications; established plants with fall herbicide applications; and seedlings with pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicide applications. Over wintered and established plants are generally more difficult to control than seedlings.

Life Cycle of Wild Carrot

Wild carrot is a biennial weed. The life cycle of a biennial weed requires two years to complete. During the first year, the plant will emerge and grow as a rosette, producing only leaves. During the second year, a stem will emerge and the plant will flower and set seed. The emergence of the flower stem is called bolting. Once a biennial plant has set seed, it will die and no longer be a problem, though many seeds were produced that may germinate and form new plants in the future. Biennial weeds are characterized as having large diameter taproots to store the food needed to begin growth after winter and to produce a flower stem. Biennial weeds usually reproduce only by seed and not by vegetative structures such as rhizomes or perennial roots. Wild carrot typically over winters in the rosette stage.

Biology of Wild Carrot

The appearance of individual wild carrot plants within a population and their response to herbicides are highly variable. Wild carrot may not always act as a biennial weed. Plants may complete their life cycle in one to three or more years, depending on the habitat in which the plants are growing. Seedlings of wild carrot may emerge as early as April and continue to emerge until mid-October, if favourable conditions exist. Seeds require large amounts of water to initiate germinations.

Reproduction -  Daucus carota contains hermaphrodic flowers (making up 95% of its primary umbels) and central staminate flowers, which also make up most secondary umbels. The central dark flower, if present, is always hermaphrodic. Anther maturation occurs before stigma development in order to maintain a protandrous dichogamy reproductive strategy.

Most seeds germinate within two years of dispersal, but they may persist in the soil for up to seven years. Wild carrot may begin to produce leaves after the winter as early as March with favourable weather conditions. Root size determines if a plant will flower and set seed in the first or the second year following emergence or later. For the majority of plants in the population to survive the winter, the root crown diameter must be at least 1/8 inch. For the majority of plants in the population to begin flowering, the root crown diameter must be at least 1/2 inch. Wild carrot may begin to bolt as early as the beginning of June and flower as early as the end of June.

Flowering will continue through August for these plants, but other plants in the population may flower until the first frost. If plants are cut after flowering begins, they may produce a new bolt from below the cut, but flowering and seed set will be delayed and seed production greatly reduced. Cross-fertilization by many insect species is the major method of fertilization, but self-fertilization may occur. If a seed has reached maximum size at the time of a frost and is still green, then the seed may still be viable because of a process called after-ripening.

Odd trivia:

Queen Annes Lace is used in rituals and spells for increased fertility in women and for men to increase potency and sexual desire!

Queen Annes Lace is the official Howard County's flower, designated as such on September 4th, 1984.cross carrots

An Old English superstition is that the small purple flower in the centre of the Wild Carrot was of benefit in curing epilepsy.

Please note some of the information in this page is taken from a copyrighted article by the author, Carla Allen, who has kindly given The World Carrot Museum permission to publish it on this website. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the prior written consent of Carla Allen is strictly forbidden.

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