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BC Conservation Data Centre: Species Summary

Daucus carota
wild carrot

Scientific Name: Daucus carota L.
English Name: wild carrot
Classification / Taxonomy
Scientific Name - Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Classification Level: Species
Species Group: Vascular Plant
Species Code: DAUCCAR
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Apiales Apiaceae
Conservation Status / Legal Designation
Global Status: GNR (Mar 1994)
Provincial Status: SNA (Apr 2019)
BC List: Exotic
Provincial FRPA list:   
Provincial Wildlife Act:
SARA Schedule:
General Status Canada: 7 - Exotic (2010)
Ecology & Life History
General Description:
Technical Description: Stem is bristly, .3-1.16 m high, with pinnately decompound leaves. Leaflets are lanceolate and acute to cuspidate. The umbel is 6-10 cm broad, compound with numerous rays, white or pink flowers, often with a large dark purple flower in the center. The characteristic odor of carrot is apparent when any part of the plant is crushed (Dale 1974, Fernald 1951, Rydberg 1971).
Diagnostic Characteristics: A similar umbellifer, Carum carvi (caraway), is distinguished from D. carota by small umbellets that are separate from each other; inconspicuous, narrow bracts below the umbel; ribbed seeds without bristles that give the odor of caraway when crushed; and glabrous leaves and flower stalks.
Similar Species:
Global Reproduction Comments: The following comes from Dale (1974). Daucus carota is protandrous; on an individual flower, the gynoecium (egg) is still immature when the pollen is released. Long filaments can facilitate self-fertilization of adjacent flowers when insect pollination fails. Seeds of the terminal, primary umbel mature first, are largest, have the highest viability, and have two to three times the number of seeds as do subsequent umbels. The umbel dries as it matures and breaks open, scattering the seeds. Flowers appear from May through October, and seeds mature and are released from mid-summer to mid-winter. The seeds have barbs, which promote dispersal by animals and wind (Gross and Werner 1982). There is no evidence for vegetative reproduction.
(Type / Subtype / Dependence)
Global Habitat Comments: It is often found on calcareous soil, but not restricted to it. It apparently prefers fine-particled soil and a high nutrient status, but endures a wide range of conditions (Dale 1974). Ahrenhoerster (pers. comm.) suggested that it may be more persistent on heavy soils with a good clay content. Gross and Werner (1982) stated that D. carota normally does not occur on newly abandoned fields because seeds do not survive for more than 1-2 years and are not often present in a newly disturbed area. Once dispersed to an area, the seedlings can emerge and survive in several types of ground cover, including those with thick vegetation. It is commonly found in fields 4-7 years after abandonment (Gross and Werner 1982).
Provincial Phenology:
(1st half of month/
2nd half of month)
Elevation (m) (min / max): Provincial: 
Known Pests:
Pollen Vector:
Pollinator: Daucus carota is self-fertile, but is generally cross-fertilized by a large number of different insect pollinators such as flies, mosquitoes, gnats, bees, wasps, and ants (Dale 1974).
Provincial Inventory
Inventory Priority:
Ownership of occurrences (Known locations):
Inventory Need:
Economic Attributes
Endemic: N
Global Range Comment: Introduced and naturalized from Europe, Daucus carota inhabits dry fields and waste places at low altitudes throughout the northern United State from Vermont to Virginia west to Washington and California and north into Canada (Fernald 1951).
Disjunct, more common elsewhere:
Peripheral, major distribution elsewhere:
Authors / Contributors
Global Information Author: Nancy Eckardt
Last Updated: Aug 28, 1987
Provincial Information Author:
Last Updated:
Last Literature Search:
References and Related Literature
Dale, H. M. 1974. The biology of Canadian weeds. 5. Daucus carota. Can. J. Plant Sci. 54: 673-685.
Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.
Gross, K. L., and P. A. Werner. 1982. Colonizing abilities of "biennial" plant species in relation to ground cover: Implications for their distributions in a successful sere. Ecology 63(4):921-931.
Rydberg, P. A. 1971. Flora of the prairies and plains of central North America. Dover Publications, N.Y. 503 pp. 2 vol.

Please visit the website Conservation Status Ranks for definitions of the data fields used in this summary report.

Suggested Citation:

B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 1987. Species Summary: Daucus carota. B.C. Minist. of Environment. Available: (accessed Mar 31, 2023).