Wild Carrot

Wild Carrot

Daucus carota

Status in Squamish:


Status in Whistler:


Status in Pemberton:

Vectors of Spread:

Queen Anne’s Lace

Devil’s Plague

Bird’s Nest

ID Characteristics

General: Wild Carrot is a biennial plant in the Apiaceae (carrot) family.

Flowers: Tiny white flowers (3 mm) that form clusters at the end of stems, protected beneath by long thin leaves. There is often a single purple flower in the centre. The branched flower stalks form a flat umbrella shape (3 – 7 cm wide) that’s characteristic of the carrot family.

Stem: In its first year, the plant is usually stemless, growing only a rosette of leaves. In its second year, the stem is erect (up to 1 m tall), grooved, stiff and bristly.

Leaves: First year (rosette) leaves are hairy, broad and flat. In the second year, leaves are fern-like and lacy, growing in an alternate and compound arrangement.

Fruit: The flower dries and curls into a ball shape, producing small (3-4 mm long) oval fruits. Seeds are pale brown and covered in tiny barbed hairs.

Roots: Wild Carrot forms whitish, slender, woody taproots measuring 5 – 15 cm long. Taproots smell like carrot but taste bitter.

Similar Species


Poison Hemlock Flowers (King County)

Photo credit: King County

Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum): is extremely dangerous, and recognizable by its spotted and non-hairy stems.






Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) contains a toxic sap that causes burns when exposed to sunlight. It grow much taller than Wild Carrot, about 5-6 meters.






Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org

Wild Chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris) has ridges on its stems and its foliage has a slightly sweet, musty odor.








Photo credit: Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California – Davis, Bugwood.org

Bur Chervil (Anthriscus caucalis) produces seeds that are covered in bristles and its flowers from in clusters of 3-7.






Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) has yellow instead of white flowers and grows taller than Wild Carrot, up to 2m tall.






Please report any sighting of Wild Carrot by clicking here.

Habitat and Origin

Wild Carrot is native to Europe, Northern Africa and Southwestern Asia. It was introduced to North America as a medicinal herb.

Wild Carrot prefers sun, regular precipitation and gravelly to sandy soils. It thrives in recently disturbed areas such as roadsides, fields, waste places, and clearings.

Current Distribution

Map source: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of BC

Propagation & Vectors of Spread

Wild Carrot reproduces by seed and can generate 1,000 – 40,000 seeds per plant. Flowers are self fertile but insects may pollinate them as well. Wild Carrot is a biennial. In its first year, it forms a stemless rosette, before flowering, going to seed and dying in the second year.

Prolific seed production allows for ample opportunities of spread. Additionally, the barbed seeds easily attach to animals and clothing. Seeds can also pass through horses digestive tracts, which aids the plant’s spread.

Ecological, Economic, & Health Impacts


  • Contact with sap may cause skin irritation if exposed to light.
  • Toxic if consumed in large quantities.


  • Reduces biodiversity.


  • Can taint the milk of cows if consumed in large quantities.
  • May impact the commercial production of carrot, for instance by increasing hybridization or by transmitting diseases or pests
What Can I Do?

Wild Carrot currently found throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor, so PREVENTION of further spread is key.

Learn to identify Wild Carrot: use the images presented in this profile page to learn how to identify.

What to do if you spot it: You can report any wild carrot sighting by clicking here.



  • Regularly monitor properties for weed infestations.
  • Ensure soil and gravel are uncontaminated before transport.
  • Minimize soil disturbances (e.g. use grazing plans that prevent soil exposure from overgrazing), and use seed mixes with dense, early colonization (e.g. alfalfa or barley) to re-vegetate exposed soil and resist invasion.
  • Ensure plants (particularly flowering heads or root fragments) are bagged or covered to prevent spread during transport to designated disposal sites (e.g. landfill).



  • Unload, park or store equipment or vehicles in infested areas; remove plant material from any equipment, vehicles or clothing used in such areas and wash equipment and vehicles at designated cleaning sites before leaving infested areas.
  • Plant Wild Carrot in a garden, no matter how well-contained its enclosure may seem.
  • Move soil that has been contaminated with Wild Carrot.




Digging, excavation or tillage will control Wild Carrot. Frequent cultivation (several times each season) can also be helpful, as it encourages germination and destroys the seedlings before they flower. Additionally, mowing or clipping late in the flowering stage reduces plant size and seed production. Wear gloves when handling Wild Carrot, as the sap can cause skin irritation.


Young plants are susceptible to 2,4-D, but continued use may lead to resistance issues. Dicamba, glyphosate, imazapyr, MCPA and picloram have proven effective on Wild Carrot. However, picloram is not suitable for wet, coastal soils.

We recommend that any herbicide application is carried out by a person holding a valid BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate. Before selecting and applying herbicides, you must review and follow herbicide labels and application rates; municipal, regional, provincial and federal laws and regulations; species-specific treatment recommendations, and site-specific goals and objectives.


None available at this time.


Alberta Invasive Species Council, Queen Anne’s Lace Factsheet, https://abinvasives.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/FS-WildCarrot-QueenAnnesLace.pdf

Canada Food Inspection Agency, Weed Seed: Daucus carota subsp. carota (Wild carrot), https://www.inspection.gc.ca/plant-health/seeds/seed-testing-and-grading/seeds-identification/daucus-carota-subsp-carota/eng/1476290268095/1476290268579

Dale, Hugh M., “The Biology of Canadian Weeds: Daucus carota” in Canadian Journal of Plant Science, https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.4141/cjps74-117 (abstract) and https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/pdf/10.4141/cjps74-117 (full article)

Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia, Daucus carota, https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Daucus%20carota

Government of BC, A Guide to Weeds in British Columbia, Poison hemlock, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/plants-animals-and-ecosystems/invasive-species/alerts/poison_hemlock.pdf

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States, Queen Anne’s Lace, https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=5514

Invasive Species Council of BC, Queen Anne’s Lace, https://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-plants/queen-annes-lace

NatureServe Explorer, Daucus carota, https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.141876/Daucus_carota

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Weeds: Wild Carrot, https://www.ontario.ca/document/weed-identification-guide-ontario-crops/wild-carrot

Peace River Regional District, Profile of Invasive Plant Species within the Peace River Regional District, Queen Anne’s Lace, https://prrd.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/page/plans-reports-invasive-plants/PRRD-Invasive-Plant-List-and-Decriptions.pdf