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Wild Carrot

Back in the middle of July, I was photographing an insect on the above umbel when I noticed a single purple flower in the middle of all the white ones.  I at first assumed this must be an abberation, but I then noticed a nearby plant also had a single purple flower at the centre of its umbel.  Up until then I had been having some difficulty in identifying white umbellifers, in particular I was unsure as to which were harmless and those, such as water dropworts, which were deadly poisonous.  So I decided to take several photos of this plant to help me identify it later when I got back home.  Also, knowing the plant often helps in identifying the insects found on it, and this can also work the other way round too. 

On getting back home I found that it was wild carrot (Daucus carota), the ancestor of our cultivated carrots, and also known in the USA as Queen Anne's lace.  The underside of the umbels were like this:

And the leaves looked like this:

A month later and the flowers had become spiny seeds:

And the umbel had curled up at the edges to form a prickly cup:

Photos taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2009-07-16 (first three) and on 2009-08-22 (last two).

Reader Comments (1)

It's an invasive plant & very common here in eastern U.S. I am surprised to hear that it's not called Queen Anne's lace over there.
January 7 | Unregistered CommenterAydin

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