Carrot: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about carrot

Daucus carota is a biennial plant in the Apiaceae family that grows a rosette of leaves in the spring and summer, while building up the stout taproot that stores large amounts of sugars for the plant to flower in the second year. The leaves, produced from the stem nodes, are alternating and compound, and arranged in a spiral. The leaf blades are pinnate. When the seed stalk elongates, the tip of the stem narrows and becomes pointed, extends upward, and becomes a highly branched inflorescence. The stems grow to 60–200 cm (20–80 in) tall.

Taproots typically have a conical shape, although cylindrical and round cultivars are available. The root diameter can range from 1 cm (0.4 in) to as much as 10 cm (4 in) at the widest part. The root length ranges from 5 cm (2.0 in) to 50 cm (20 in), although most are between 10 and 25 cm (4 and 10 in).

The inflorescence is a compound umbel, and each umbel contains several umbellets. The first (primary) umbel occurs at the end of the main floral stem; smaller secondary umbels grow from the main branch, and these branch into third, fourth, and even later-flowering umbels. A large primary umbel can contain up to 50 umbellets, each of which may have as many as 50 flowers; subsequent umbels have fewer flowers.

Flowers are small and white, sometimes with a light green or yellow tint. They consist of five petals, five stamens, and an entire calyx. The anthers usually dehisce and the stamens fall off before the stigma becomes receptive to receive pollen. The fruit that develops is a schizocarp consisting of two mericarps; each mericarp is an achene or true seed. The paired mericarps are easily separated when they are dry.

common names & nomenclature
The common name Queen Anne's lace is used because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center is thought to represent a blood drop where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. It is also called Wild Carrot, because this European plant is the progenitor (wild ancestor) of the domestic carrot.

Also known as:
carrot, carot, carotte, djane racene, hu lo po, jezar, yarkuki, zanahoria, wild carrot, bird's nest, bishop's lace, queen anne's lace, birds nest weed, bees nest, devils plague, garden carrot, bird's nest root, fools parsley, lace flower, gaizar, havuc, hawuch, huang lo po, hung lo po, jezar, mohrrube, peen, philtron, yarkuki, zanahoria

Carrot, one of the key vegetables
Carrot: Where in the World
habitat and range for carrot

Daucus carota is native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia and naturalized to North America and Australia.

Carrot: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting carrot

Daucus carota is a common sight in dry fields, roadside ditches, open areas and wildflower fields, prefers full sun to part shade.

Grows well in well-drained to dry soils, with low to moderate soil fertility.

Sow seeds directly where they are to grow, either in autumn or spring. With its long taproot, this plant does not transplant well. The seedlings might be mistaken for grass seedlings at first, as the cotyledons are linear, but the next set of leaves is more distinctive.

This biennial plant forms a basal rosette of leaves in its first year and an erect flowering stalk the second, flowering occurs from July to September. Plants die after flowering. Some plants may act as an annual and flower in the first year.

Harvest entire plant in July when flowers bloom, and dry for later herb use. Collect edible roots and shoots in spring when tender. Gather seed in autumn.

After harvesting, dry the roots thoroughly if not being used fresh. Grind into a powder and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Carrot: The Rest of the Story
some information on carrot powder

Most people will wonder why carrot powder is not orange like the carrot. The first thought usually is "how old is this?", or "is this really carrot powder?"

Once a vegetable is milled it will quickly lose its color, and this is especially so with carrots. "Carotene" is what gives carrots its orange color. After carrots are milled to powder the carotene fades very rapidly, usually within 30 days. This will always result in a very pale orange, yellowish and sometime white color.