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Daucus carota sativus - (Hoffm.)Arcang.                
Common Name Carrot
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Carrots sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people[46]. Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people[218].
Habitats Not known in the wild.
Range A cultivated form of D. carota.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Daucus carota sativus is a BIENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Daucus carota sativus Carrot

Daucus carota sativus Carrot
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Colouring;  Condiment.

Root - raw or cooked[2, 7, 27]. The roots of well-grown plants are crisp, sweet and juicy, they are very nice raw and are also cooked as a vegetable or added to soups, stews etc[K]. The grated root is a tasty addition to the salad bowl[K]. The juice can be extracted from the root and used as a health-promoting drink[46]. The root is very rich in carotene, which is transformed by the body into vitamin A when it is eaten[7]. The root is sometimes ground into a powder and used in making cakes, bread etc[7, K]. The roasted root is a coffee substitute[21, 46]. Carotin, extracted from the roots, is used as an orange-yellow food dye[171]. Leaves - raw or cooked. A very strong flavour, they can be added in small quantities to mixed salads[K]. The leaves contain an oil that is rich in vitamin E, they are sometimes used as a flavouring in soups[7]. An essential oil from the seed is used as a food flavouring.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Carminative;  Deobstruent;  Diuretic;  Galactogogue;  Ophthalmic;  Stimulant.

Cultivated carrot roots are a rich source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the liver[254]. When used as a regular item in the diet the roots improve eyesight and skin health, and also have anti-cancer effects[238]. A wonderful cleansing medicine, it supports the liver and stimulates urine flow and the removal of waste by the kidneys[254]. The root is diuretic and ophthalmic[7]. The juice of organic carrots is a delicious drink and a valuable detoxifier[254]. The raw root, grated or mashed, is a safe treatment for threadworms, especially in children[254]. The seed is carminative, galactogogue, lithontripic and stimulant[7, 240]. They are useful in the treatment of kidney diseases, dropsy and to settle the digestive system[240, 254]. They stimulate menstruation and have been used in folk medicine as a treatment for hangovers[254].
Other Uses
Alcohol;  Dye;  Essential.

The roots are fermented in order to produce alcohol[7]. An orange dye is obtained from the root[171]. An essential oil from the seed has a distinctive fragrance and is used in perfumery[7, 46].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a good light warm well-drained soil and plenty of moisture[16, 27, 37, 200]. Prefers a sandy or calcareous loam[132]. Plants are extremely sensitive to soil conditions, good roots can only be produced in a soil that permits easy penetration of the root[200]. Carrots are reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 31 to 410cm, an annual temperature range of 3.6 to 28.5°C and a pH of 4.2 to 8.7[269]. They prefer a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5[200]. Carrots are widely cultivated in most areas of the world for their edible root, which can be available all year round from successional sowings[46]. There are many named varieties, with roots varying in size and shape from short and round to long and tapering[183, 200]. World-wide, the yields of roots averages about 24 tonnes per hectare, the world low production yield was 3,125 kg/ha in Zaire, whilst the world high production yield was 62,889 kg/ha in Belgium-Luxembourg[269]. Plants grow best at a mean temperature of 16 - 18°c. At temperatures above 28°c top growth is reduced and the roots become very strongly flavoured. At temperatures below 16°c the roots become long and tapered and are pale in colour[200]. The leaves are moderately susceptible to frost but the roots are much hardier and can safely be left in the ground in the winter in most areas[200], so long as pests such as slugs or root fly are not a problem[K]. If dug up for storage, the roots can be kept for up to six months at 0 - 1°c and high relative humidity[200]. Carrots are very susceptible to a number of pests and diseases. The young seedlings are adored by slugs and so will generally need some protection. Carrot root fly is also a major problem. This creature lays its eggs near the young carrots. When they hatch, the larvae burrow into the soil and then eat their way into the root. In bad seasons almost all the crop can be heavily damaged. It is possible to reduce this damage by timing seed sowing to try and avoid the worst times of infestation, a June sowing of a fast-maturing cultivar will often be successful. There are also various companion plants that can help to reduce infestation. In general, these are strong-smelling plants such as garlic, onions and various aromatic plants such as wormwood. The idea is that these plants will mask the smell of the carrots and therefore the fly, which mainly uses scent to find the plants, will not be able to detect the smell of the carrots This method is most likely to fail when the fly comes close enough to the plants to see them and then no longer relies on scent. The most successful organic solution to date has been to erect barriers of clear polythene about 1 metre tall all around the bed of carrots. Since the fly generally flies below this height, it has proved to be quite effective, although any fly that does get in will then tend to stay inside the barrier and lay all of its eggs there. About 95% of carrot flowers are pollinated by insects, with the remaining 5% self-pollinating[269]. Carrots grow well with lettuce and chives[18] but dislike dill[20]. They also grow badly with potatoes, kohl rabi, fennel and cabbages[201].
Seed - sow in situ in succession from early spring to early summer. Do not transplant the seedlings, since this will usually cause damage to the roots and a good crop will not be obtained. Carrot seed needs a well-made seed bed with a fine tilth if good germination is to be achieved. The earliest sowings can be made of an early maturing variety in a cold frame or greenhouse in January or February, this will provide edible roots in late spring. The first outdoor sowings are made as the soil warms up in the spring. Successional sowings can be made until early summer if required. A September sowing in mild areas can provide an early spring supply of young roots, though the plants will often require some protection.
Related Plants                                         
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Daucus carotaWild Carrot, Queen anne's lace, Carrot, Wild Carrot, Queen Anne's Lace23
Daucus pusillusRattlesnake Weed, American wild carrot22
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[16]Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[27]Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden.
A reprint of a nineteenth century classic, giving details of vegetable varieties. Not really that informative though.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[132]Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth.
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[269]Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of plants.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
aiza@ocampo Wed Aug 9 2006
how can i make coffee from carrots
Elizabeth H.
aiza ocampo Wed Aug 9 2006
how can i make coffee from carrots
Elizabeth H.
Andrew Lorimer Tue Dec 11 2007
"We don't want forced water ~ and we don't want false soil." ~ a carrot spoke (through the agency of: Andrew Lorimer).
Elizabeth H.
patola Sun Jan 4 2009
how do i make coffee from carrots??
Elizabeth H.
Raffi Tue Jun 9 2009

Plants.am Carrot cultivation information

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