Carrot Root Shapes

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 Examples of typical carrot root shapes. The Main Parts and Functions of the Carrot Root on this page.

The history of carrot was extensively studied by Banga (1957a, b, 1963). This led to a simple classification of Eastern and Western types (Figure 1 below).  Early in its history, carrot was only categorized by colour, as yellow or purple. As orange carrots became popular in Europe in the 1500s, they were categorized by shape with Horn and Long Orange cultivars noted in the 1600s, followed in the 1700s by modified versions of these first two shapes: Early Short Horn, Early Half Long Orange and Late Half Long Orange cultivars. (Figure 2 below).

The most widely used orange cultivar shapes and their names introduced in the 1800s were Paris Market, Amsterdam Forcing, Nantes, Oxheart or Guerande, Danvers, Berlicum and Altringham. The Imperator, Chantenay and Flakkee cultivars. had shapes which were first developed in the 1900s, and most recently, with the development of the cut & peel carrot industry accounting for a significant portion of the USA industry today. A Long Imperator cultivar shape, derived from the Imperator cultivar, is proposed as an addition to the array of major root shapes of carrot as seen in Figure 2.  Source -  Carrot (Daucus carota L.) Breeding August 2021Philipp W. Simon, published in Advances in Plant Breeding Strategies: Vegetable Crops pp 213238


Figure 1 - Top row includes original European types; bottom two rows are major types grown worldwide today
common root shapes of carrot

Figure 2 - A further, more detailed classification from more modern research.

Source -  Carrot (Daucus carota L.) Breeding August 2021Philipp W. Simon, published in Advances in Plant Breeding Strategies: Vegetable Crops pp 213238

Carrots common Root Shapes

Carrot types of root shape

Ernst Benary,  (1819-1893) - Album Benary. (Erfurt) 1876 (image below)

Top row, left to right -

1. Long Orange Belgian, green top;
2. Transparent White;
3. Scarlet Intermediate;
4. Semi long Scarlet Obtuse, for forcing;
5. Long yellow;
6. Large White Belgian, green top;

Bottom row -

7. Earliest red Duwick, for forcing;
8. Long Red Erfurt;
9. Improved Long Red Altringham [sic];
10. Long Red Surrey;
11. Semi-long Scarlet Nantes, or Stump-rooted;
12. Early Long Scarlet, short-leaved;
13. Earliest Scarlet French Horn

 Album Benary. (Erfurt) 1876 - carrot root shapes and colors

These photo (below) is a good representative sample of carrots, used in the 2014 research study entitled - New insights into domestication of carrot from root transcriptome analyses (Rong et al.: New insights into domestication of carrot from root transcriptome analyses. BMC Genomics 2014 15:895.)

wild and cultivated carrots


For information here is the full classification of a carrot:carrot root shapes

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Apiales
Family Apiaceae Carrot family
Genus Daucus L. wild carrot P
Species Daucus carota L. ssp. sativus- domestic carrot

(It is generally accepted that domestic carrot is drawn from the wild variety)

Note - Some classifications show Umbelliferae rather than Apiaceae

Read more - Journal of Horticulture and Science 1963 - An Objective Method of Recording and Comparing the Shapes of Carrot Roots (J. K. A. Bleasdale & R. Thompson (1963) An Objective Method of Recording and Comparing the Shapes of Carrot Roots, Journal of Horticultural Science, 38:3, 232-241, DOI: 10.1080/00221589.1963.11514074)


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