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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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Lincoln Constance

Annual, biennial, perennial herb (rarely shrub, tree), often from taproot
Stem often ± scapose, generally ribbed, hollow
Leaves basal and generally some cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, sometimes compound
Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present (in involucres) or not; bractlets generally present (in involucels)
Flowers many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small, atop ovary; petals 5, free, generally ovate or spoon-shaped, generally incurved at tips, generally ± ephemeral; stamens 5; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-chambered, generally with a ± conic, persistent projection or platform on top subtending 2 free styles
Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves that separate from each other but generally remain attached for some time to a central axis; ribs on each half 5, 2 marginal and 3 on back; oil tubes 1–several per interval between ribs
Genera in family: 300 genera, 3,000 species: ± worldwide, especially temp; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); some highly toxic (e.g., Conium). Underground structures here called roots, but true nature remains problematic. Mature fruit generally critical in identification; shapes generally given in outline, followed by shape in X -section of 2 fruit halves together.


Annual, biennial, taprooted, hairy
Stem decumbent or erect, generally ± branched
Leaf: blade oblong, pinnately dissected, segments linear to lanceolate
Inflorescence: umbels compound; bracts, bractlets generally present; bracts conspicuous, generally pinnately lobed; bractlets entire to toothed; rays generally many, spreading, in fruit incurving to form a nest-like umbel
Flowers: outer sometimes ± bilateral; calyx lobes 0 or evident; petals wide, white, tips narrowed, unequally 2-lobed
Fruit oblong to ovate, compressed front-to-back; ribs 10, 1° thread-like and bristly, 2° winged and prickly; oil tubes 1 beneath each 2° ribs; fruit axis entire or notched at tip
Species in genus: ± 20 species: Am, Eurasia, n Africa, Australia
Etymology: (Greek: carrot)
Reference: [Sáenz Laín 1980 Ann Jard Bot Madrid 37:481–533]


D. carota L.


Plant 1.5–12 dm, generally branched
Leaf: petiole 3–10 cm; blade 5–15 cm, segments 2–12 mm, linear to lanceolate, acute, entire or with a few irregular cuts, bristly to glabrous
Inflorescence: peduncles 2.5–6 cm, bristles reflexed to spreading; rays 3–7.5 cm; pedicels 3–10 mm
Fruit 3–4 mm, ovate
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Roadsides, disturbed places
Elevation: 0–1200 m.
Bioregional distribution: w California Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to e N.America; native to Old World
Reference: [Small 1978 Canad J Bot 56:248–276]
Sporadic in CA; widely naturalized, sometimes hybridizing with cultivars.

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