Illustrations and photos by "Wildman," clipart from Clipart.com
This is the same species as the European commercial carrot, but a different strain or race. In season from fall to early spring, the white taproot tastes and smells like carrots (unlike the similar-looking but deadly poison hemlock), but more flavorful and chewy.
Wild Carrot Taproot, Leaves, Flower Head, and Seed Head
Wild carrots are especially good in soups, stews, cakes, and cookies, where they maintain more texture than their domestic descendant.
Wild Carrot Basal Rosette
This biennial (2-year plant) begins with a basal rosette: finely cut leaves spread out in a circle along the ground, arising from the taproot. The leaf stalks are fuzzy, while poison hemlock's are smooth.
Wild Carrot Basal Rosette and Taproot
It's this first-year plant that has an edible taproot.
Queen Anne's Lace Flower Head
The umbrella-like flower head consists of tiny, white flowers, often with a purple floret in the center.
Wild Carrot Seed Head
The wild carrot seed head, which appears in late summer and fall, looks like a bird's nest, with characteristic forked bracts (modified leaves) underneath.
You can use the wild carrot seeds in place of caraway seeds, 1 part carrot seeds for 8 parts caraway seeds.