|The umbel of a wild carrot|
Daucus carota (common names include wild carrot, (UK) bird's nest, bishop's lace, and Queen Anne's lace (North America)) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia and naturalised to North America and Australia. Domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus.
D. carota is a variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall and flowering from June to August. The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3–7 cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath; finally, as they turn to seed, they contract and become concave like a bird's nest. The dried umbels detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds.
Similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock, D. carota is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in its center.
Like the cultivated carrot, the D. carota root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume.
Extra caution should be used when collecting D. carota because it bears a close resemblance poison hemlock. In addition, the leaves of the wild carrot can cause phytophotodermatitis, so caution should also be used when handling the plant.
If used as a dyestuff, the flowers give a creamy, off-white color.
D. carota, when freshly cut, will draw or change color depending on the color of the water in which it is held. Note that this effect is only visible on the "head" or flower of the plant. Carnations also exhibit this effect. This occurrence is a popular science demonstration in primary grade school.
Beneficial weed 
This beneficial weed can be used as a companion plant to crops. Like most members of the umbellifer family, it attracts wasps to its small flowers in its native land; however, where it has been introduced, it attracts only very few of such wasps. This species is also documented to boost tomato plant production when kept nearby, and it can provide a microclimate of cooler, moister air for lettuce, when intercropped with it.
Queen Anne's lace 
D. carota was introduced and naturalised in North America, where it is often known as "Queen Anne's lace". Both Anne, Queen of Great Britain, and her great grandmother Anne of Denmark are taken to be the Queen Anne for which the plant is named. It is so called because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center is thought to represent a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny red flower, coloured by anthocyanin, is to attract insects.
- Daucus abyssinicus C.A. Mey.
- Daucus carota convar. afganicus Setchkarev
- Daucus carota convar. sativus Setchkarev
- Daucus carota L. subsp. sativus (Hoffm.) Thell.
- Daucus carota L. var. atrorubens Alef.
- Daucus carota L. var. sativus DC.
- Daucus carota L. var. sativus Hoffm.
- Daucus carota var. sativus Hoffm.
- Daucus gingidium L.
- Daucus sativa (Hoffm.) Pass.
See also 
- Herbert Waldron Faulkner (1917). The Mysteries of the Flowers. Frederick A. Stokes company. p. 238. page 210
- Noxious weeds - Poison-hemlock, King County, Washington
- Hemlock Poisoning, Medscape
- Phytophotodermatitis Clinical Presentation, Medscape
- USDA PLANTS. PLANTS Profile for Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
- Clark, D. L.; Wilson, M. V. (2003). "Post-dispersal seed fates of four prairie species". American Journal of Botany 90 (5): 730. doi:10.3732/ajb.90.5.730.
- "Queen Ann's Lace". Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- Linnaeus, Carolus (1753). Species Plantarum (in Latin) 1. Stockholm: Laurentii Salvii. p. 242.
- Kays, Stanley J. (2011). "3. Latin binomials and synonyms". Cultivated Vegetables of the World: A Multilingual Onomasticon. Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 617–708. ISBN 978-90-8686-720-2.
Additional references 
- Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
- Clapham, A. R., Tutin, T. G., and Warburg, E. F. (1962). Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press.
- Mabey, Richard (1997). Flora Britannica. London: Chatto and Windus.
- Rose, Francis (2006). The Wild Flower Key (edition revised and expanded by Clare O'Reilly). London: Frederick Warne. ISBN 0-7232-5175-4.