Weed of the Month: Wild Carrot

Wild carrot, also known as Queen Anne's lace, is found in pastures, native areas, fields, and roadsides. Mild neurotoxicity to horses was reported in Europe but is not considered a serious threat in North America.

Photo: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment

Wild Carrot

Wild Carrot

Common name: Wild Carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace)
Scientific name: Daucus carota L.

Life Cycle: Biennial
Origin: Asia and Mediterranean region
Poisonous: Slightly

Wild carrot, also known as Queen Anne's lace, is an erect biennial that can grow to about 4 feet in height. It is found in pastures, native areas, fields, and roadsides. Seeds usually germinate in the spring, and leaves develop a basal rosette (a circular arrangement of leaves arising from the base of a stem, similar to dandelion) the first year of growth. Leaves alternate up the stem as the plant develops during the second year of growth. The flowers develop at the top of the plant as an erect terminal umbel (a cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that are equal in length and spread from a common point, somewhat like umbrella ribs). Flowers are white except for central light purple flowers; however, from a distance all flowers appear white.

Wild carrot is sometimes confused with poison hemlock. Although these two species' leaves appear similar, there is one obvious distinguishing characteristic: Poison hemlock has dark purple spots on the stems while wild carrot does not.

Mild neurotoxicity to horses was reported in Europe but is not considered a serious threat in North America. However, to avoid any potential problems, remove wild carrot plants from pastures.

Controlling wild carrot in pastures is easy using timely mowing before flowering and herbicidal treatment. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service personnel for a list of herbicidal control in your area.

William W. Witt, PhD, a researcher in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Kentucky, provided this information.


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