Common Name: Wild carrot
Scientific Name: Daucus carota L.
Synonyms: Queen Anne's lace, bird's nest
Efforts must be made to prevent seed maturation and dispersal of plants into new areas. Additionally, no illegal transportation, propagation, or sale of these plants is allowed. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action by the county or local municipality. Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.
Daucus carota is native to Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America as a root vegetable and medicinal herb, has become naturalized and is now found in every state. This is a horticultural species that is still intentionally planted with edible cultivars and occasionally included in wildflower mixes. Wild carrot should not be harvested and ingested.
This species invades pastures, old fields, prairies, railroad waysides, and road sides. It can be found in sun to partial shade. It generally prefers well-drained, alkaline soils ranging from sand to clay.
Wild carrot reproduces entirely by seed. The seed is wind- and animal- dispersed. The dried umbels will break off and tumble long distances, spreading seed. The hooked spines on the seed can attach to clothing or animal fur and help to disperse it. One plant can produce up to 40,000 seeds.
Wild carrot is widespread throughout the U.S. It is a problem in parts of Minnesota where its preferred habitat occurs, such as the dry agricultural areas of southeastern and southwestern Minnesota. View wild carrot distribution in Minnesota.
Wild carrot will invade disturbed sites and quickly outcompete other species. It is a threat to native habitats if they are disturbed or newly restored, because it matures faster and grows larger than many native species. However, it tends to fade out as native grasses and forbs become established over time. Prescribed burning can stimulate its growth or create disturbance that can give a new infestation a foothold.
The root looks very much like a domesticated carrot. You must use extra caution when working around wild carrot as it looks very similar to poison hemlock, a deadly plant. It also exhibits mild toxicity to livestock.
The leaves of wild carrot can cause phytophotodermatitis, a rash that occurs when skin touches the sap and then is exposed to sunlight. Wear gloves and cover exposed skin when handling or pulling wild carrot.