The wild carrot (Daucus carota)
The wild carrot (or Daucus carota) is one of the many gorgeous wildflowers that we include on our rolls of Meadowmat. It is a UK native species of the Apiaceae family that grows primarily on calcareous, free-draining soils. In the wild, it can be found growing in grasslands, on cliffs and even by roadsides.
Aesthetically, the wild carrot makes a fine addition to any garden. It flowers between the months of June and August, producing an umbrella-like umbel of small, creamy white flowers. Often, a single dark red flower will grow in the middle of the luscious white umbel, creating a striking visual contrast. The effect is so noticeable that, in North America, wild carrots are colloquially known as “Queen Anne’s lace”, in reference to an occasion when the monarch pricked her finger and got a spot of crimson blood on her pristine white lace.
However, it is worth noting that the wild carrot is a biennial plant, which means that it takes two years to complete its life cycle. As such, you may not see any flowers on your wild carrots until the second year of growth. In the meantime, the plant can still add a decorative flourish to your garden due to its feathery tripinnate leaves.
Not only does the wild carrot prettify your garden with its presence, it also attracts interesting and beautiful insects. When in bloom, the wild carrot is favoured by many pollinators and leaf-eaters, including bees, green lacewings and butterflies. These colourful and diverse bugs are a must-see for any nature enthusiast and will complement the appearance of your Meadowmat.
Wild carrots don’t just provide food for insects, though, humans can also eat them! When a wild carrot is young, its central taproot is edible, just like that of a domestic carrot (though the root does harden too much to consume as the plant gets older). The small white flowers also have a practical application: they can be used to make dyes for clothes. Of course, we don’t recommend harvesting any part of your Meadowmat when you first lay it. However, once its been established for a few years, you might start to wonder about the practical uses of the plants you’ve been growing. In this case, the wild carrot is a great plant to harvest, thanks to its usability as both a dye and a source of food.
The wild carrot is included in two of our Meadowmat varieties. We recommend it to anyone who wants to improve the appearance of their garden, attract insect life and get the most out of their plants!