Daucus carota L.
Cultivated carrot, Queen-Anne's lace (Wild)
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Cultivated for the enlarged fleshy taproot, eaten as a raw vegetable or
cooked in many dishes. Eaten sliced, diced, cut up, or shoe-stringed,
carrots are used in many mixed vegetable combinations. They are sold in
bunches, or canned, frozen, or dehydrated. They may be baked, sauteed,
pickled, and glazed, or served in combination with meats, in stews, roasts,
soups, meat loaf or curries. Roasted carrots have served as coffee
substitutes. Carrot juice is beneficial. Britishers once brewed a good wine
from carrot. Humans are said to eat the leaves in Java (C.S.I.R., 1948-1976).
Essential oil is used to flavor liqueurs and perfumes. Carrotseed oil, blended
with cedarwood oil, is a good imitation of orris. Roots and tops may be fed to
livestock (Reed, 1976).
Seeds are aromatic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, and stimulant, and are
used for dropsy, chronic dysentery, kidney ailments, and worms. Also as an
aphrodisiac, a nervine tonic, and for uterine pain. Roots are refrigerant and
are used in infusion for threadworm. Diuretic, and eliminating uric acid,
carrots belong in the diet of gout-prone people. Local stimulant for indolent
ulcers; other ingredients of carrot lower blood sugar; hence carrot might be
increased to good advantage in the prevention of cancer, diabetes, dyspepsia,
and gout, possibly heart disease. Elsewhere the root, prepared in various
manners, is used for tumors, cancerous ulcers, cancerous wounds, tumors of the
testicles, mammary carcinoma, and skin cancer. The juice of the root is
applied to carcinomatous ulcers of the neck and uterus, cancer of the bowels
and stomach cancer. Scraped roots are used to stimulate indolent ulcers.
Cancer-fearers may be reinforced by the knowledge that carrots are relatively
high in fiber, retinoid like substances, and the seeds also contain the rather
ubiquitous ß-sitosterol, which has shown activity in Ca, LL, and WA tumor
systems. Having heard from three different sources that wild carrot seed were
used as a morning-after contraceptive in Pennsylvania, I was particularly
interested to read that, "At doses of 80 and 120 mg/mouse, the seed extract, if
given orally from day 4 to 6 post-coitum, effectively inhibits implantation."
Experimentally hypoglycemic, a tea made from Queen Anne's Lace was believed to
help maintain low blood sugar levels in humans, but it had no effect on
diabetes artifically induced in animals. Wild carrot tea has been recommended
for bladder and kidney ailment, dropsy, gout, gravel; seeds are recommended for
calculus, obstructions of the viscera, dropsy, jaundice, scurvy. Carrots of
one form or another were once served at every meal for liver derangements; now
we learn that they may upset the liver.
Per 100 g, the carrot is reported to contain 86.0 g H2O, 0.9 g protein, 0.1 g
fat, 10.7 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g fiber, 1.1 g ash, 80 mg Ca, 30 mg P, 1.5 mg Fe,
2,000-4,300 IU Vit. A, 60 IU Vit. B1, 3 mg niacin, and 3 mg ascorbic acid. The
Wealth of India (C.S.I.R., 1948-1976) reports thiamine (56-101 ug/100g),
riboflavin (50-90 ug/100 g), and nicotinic acid (0.56-11 mg/100 g) among the B
vitamins. Vitamin C is in a protein-ascorbic acid complex. Vitamin D, a
substance with the characteristics of vitamin E and a phospholipoid of vitamin
reactions corresponding to A and D and containing calcium, phosphorus and
nitrogen in organic linkage, are also present. Carrots contain ca 5.27% ZMB of
phytin. Sixteen percent of the phosphorus is present as phytic acid
phosphorus. The lipids extracted from raw carrots are characterised by a low
nitrogen content (0.33-0.72%) and by the absence or low content (0.52%) of
choline, while those extracted from steamed roots are rich in nitrogen
(1.1-1.3%) and choline (4.2-4.4%). Pectin isolated from carrots (yield,
16.82-18.75% on dry weight) has no gelling property. Ash of carrots gave (on
fresh weight basis): total ash, 0.92; K2O, 0.51; Na2O, 0.06; CaO, 0.07; MgO,
0.02; and P2O5, 0.09%. Trace elements reported to be present include: Fe, Al,
Mn, Cu, Zn, As, Cr, I, Br, Cl, U, and Li (C.S.I.R., 1948-1976).
Daucus has been reported to contain acetone, asarone, choline, ethanol, formic
acid, HCN, isobutyric acid, limonene, malic acid, maltose, oxalic acid,
palmitic acid, pyrrolidine, and quinic acid. Reviewing research on myristicin,
which occurs in nutmeg, mace, black pepper, carrot seed, celery seed, and
parsley, Buchanan (J. Food Safety 1: 275, 1979) noted that the psychoactive and
hallucinogenic properties of mace, nutmeg, and purified myristicin have been
studied. It has been hypothesized that myristicin and elemicin can be readily
modified in the body to amphetamines. Handling carrot foliage, especially wet
foliage, can cause irritation and vesication. Sensitized photosensitive
persons may get an exact reproduction of the leaf on the skin by placing the
leaf on the skin for awhile, followed by exposure to sunshine.
Annual (wild) or biennial (cultivated) erect her mmissural side, containing 2 small dry indehiscent seeds. Fl.
May-Oct.; fr. July-Nov. (Reed, 1976).
Reported from the Mediterranean, Central Asian, and Eurosiberian Centers of
Diversity, carrot, or cvs thereof, is reported tolerate bacteria, boron, frost,
fungi, hydrogen floride, high pli, laterite, low pH, muck, poor soil, salt,
smog, weeds, and wilt (Duke, 1978). Of great number developed, most important
commercial cvs are 'Chantenay', 'Imperator', 'Dativers', 'Nantes', and similar
cvs suited to a particular locality, soil, or other agronomic condition.
CHANTENAY types: used chiefly in processing and home gardens, midseason
maturity, large strong foliage, roots 12-15 cm long, 3-5 cm in diam., tapered
or blunt end, deep-orange cortex and core; 'Royal Chatenay' and 'Red Cored
Chatenay'. DANVERS types: used for fresh market and processing midseason
maturity, large strong foliage, root 12.5-15 cm long, 3-4 cm in diam., tapered
to rounded, and deep-orange cortex, slightly yellow core; 'Danvers 126'.
IMPERATOR types: used extensively for fresh market, midseason to late, large
strong foliage, root 16-18 cm long, 2.5-4.5 cm in diam., taper slightly to
short tapered end, deep-orange cortex, lighter at core; 'Long Imperator 58'.
NANTES types: used for home and market-garden, excellent quality, early
maturity, short, sparse, brittle foliage, roots 11-15 cm long, nearly
cylindrical, with blunt end, deep orange-red cortex and core; 'Nantes 99'.
Most cvs have been derived from Daucus carota subsp. (or var.)
sativus, and cross-fertilization occurs between wild forms and cvs.
Male sterility found in many cvs and at least two wild populations, gives vigor
and such other desirable characteristics, as smooth, uniform, highly colored
roots. Some cvs developed for the tropics, include 'Early Horn' and 'Early
Gem', used for forcing in lowland tropics (in cooler countries). 'Nantes' and
'Chantenay' are preferred for higher altitudes. 'Danvers Half Long' is
recommended in Trinidad. Many countries have developed cvs suitable for
growing in their particular areas (Reed, 1976). (2n = 18, 22)
Probably native to western Asia or the Near East, but forms are found in the
Mediterranean region, southwest Asia, tropical Africa, Australia, and North and
South America (Reed, 1976). Reported as a serious weed in Afghanistan, Greece,
Hungary, and Poland, a principal weed in Jordan, Mauritius, Puerto Rico,
Sweden, and Tunisia, and a common weed in Austria, Canada, Egypt, England,
Germany, Iran, Iraq, USA, USSR, and West Polynesia (Holm et al, 1979).
Ranging from Boreal Moist to Rain through Tropical Thorn to Wet Forest Life
Zones, carrot is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 3.1 to 41.0 dm
(mean of 180 cases = 11.7), annual temperature of 3.6 to 28.5°C (mean
of 179 cases = 18.4), and pH of 4.2 to 8.7 (mean of 107 cases = 6.4)
(Duke, 1978, 1979). A cool season crop, with optimum growth at 16-21°C,
requiring for best growths long periods of mild weather free of temperature and
moisture extremes. For seed production, warm dry areas with few summer or fall
showers are desirable. One variety or other can be grown with success at some
season of the year almost anywhere other vegetables are grown. Soils should be
deep friable, well-drained, and loams and organic soils such as muck or peat
have been used, with pH ranging from 6.5-7.8 (Reed, 1976).
Propagated from seed. Soil should be cultivated deeply but avoid excessive
tillage. Seed may be planted from April to mid-July, or up to 3 weeks before
last frost, using the standard spacing of 3 cm apart in rows 40 cm apart. Seed
should be covered lightly with 0.3-0.6 cm of soil. Germination is slow and
irregular. Seed rate is 3-6 kg/ha, less for processing cultivars. Carrots
require relatively large amounts of well-distributed moisture as rainfall or
irrigation. If irrigation is used, plant seed on raised beds, as 2-3 acre-feet
of water is needed to grow a crop. Fertilization procedures should be designed
to suit soil. Mineral soils should be supplied with liberal amounts of organic
matter. Mixed fertilizers at 788-1125 kg/ha of 2-8-16 often applied. Carrots
may be rotated with alfalfa or other legume cover crops, small grains, onions,
spinach, or corn, but avoid rotation with celery, parsley, beets, sesbania, as
they increase the soil disease problem. When grown for seed, different
varieties must be widely separated, because, as a good nectar supplier, they
attract many types of insects. In Great Britain, fields are separated by
270-360 m; in USA, for commercial seed, 400 m, and for stock seed, 900 m; in
Egypt, 250 m; in Congo, 1100 m. All wild carrots must be removed from adjacent
areas, as they cross readily with cultivated varieties. For seed production,
plants are treated as biennials. Roots are lifted and stored during the winter
for stock seed production, allowing complete roguing. Roots at this stage are
called stecklings. Tops are often mowed off (used for livestock feed) before
carrots are dug. Roots are then stored (0deg.C with 90-95% rel. hum.),
medium-sized roots being considered best. Roots must not be allowed to
shrivel, so that sometimes they are packed in pits in damp sand. In USA,
ordinary cellars with dampened earth floors and air vents are used. Replanting
steckling roots in the spring on well prepared deep friable soil may be done
mechanically or by hand. They are set with the crown about level with the
soil. In Europe, they are set in rows 75-0 cm apart with 60 cm between
stecklings; in USA and Canada, roots are planted in 30 cm rows, spaced 5-10 cm
apart; in Denmark, rows are spaced 80-120 cm apart. Moisture management at
this stage is very important, as roots are very susceptible to rot. Effective
weed control is essential for good seed production. Cultural practices for
fertilization and irrigation are about the same as for root crop (Reed, 1976).
Root carrots are ready to harvest in 60 to 150 days depending on the variety.
They may be harvested manually or mechanically, with machines replacing 60
laborers and harvesting 1.2-2 ha/day. For long storage, carrots should be kept
at 0.5°C with relative humidity 90-95%. For seed, it is best harvested when
secondary umbels are fully ripe and tertiary unbels are beginning to turn
brown. Crop ripens unevenly, but seed does not shatter easily. Hand-picking
provides best seed for stock seed production. Two or three pickings are
necessary. In USA, crop is mowed or preferably pulled. Pulled plants are made
into small piles (3-5 plants) to dry (cure) for 4-5 days under dry hot
conditions, or for 2-3 weeks in humid conditions. When dry, crop is threshed
with combine or stationary thresher, preferably with rubber-lined beaters. In
Great Britain, clover huller, properly adjusted, can also be used to remove the
beards. After removal of coarse material, seed can be cleaned over a winnower.
Seed stores well in temperate regions about 3 years, maintaining good viability
In 1979, the world low production yield was 3,125 kg/ha in Zaire, the
international production yield was 22,046 kg/ha, and the world high production
yield was 62,889 kg/ha in Belgium-Luxemburg. Yields of root carrots averages
about 24,000 kg/ha. Seed yields for over-wintered crops average 600-800 kg/ha;
for transplanted crops yields are lower, 500-600 kg/ha. In USA, yields up to
1000-1200 kg/ha seed have been recorded; in India, only 200 kg/ha; and in
Egypt, 220 kg/ha (Reed, 1976). Carrots are ninth (out of twenty eight) among
vegetable crops in the US. Average value of commercial crop is about
$70,500,000 per year based on fresh-market and processed carrots, accounting
for about 86,300 tons of carrots.
The Wealth of India (C.S.I.R., 1948-1976) suggests root yields of up to 120
MT/ha, which, if 90% water, would translate into DM yields of 12 MT/ha. The
sugars could be rather readily converted to alcohol.
About 95% of carrots are cross-pollinated. Pollinators are honeybees and other
hymenoptera, and some diptera. Bee colonies should be supplied, if natural
pollinators are not adequate. The following fungus diseases have been
reported: Aecidium carotinum, Alternaria brassicae, A. carotae, A. dauci, A.
porri, A. tenuis, A. tenuissima, A. radicina, Botrytis cinerea, Centrospora
acerina, Cercospora apii, C. carotae, Chaetomium aureum, C. globosum,
Choanephora cucurbitarum, Colletotrichum fructigenum, Corticium rolfsii, C.
solani, Diaporthe arctii, D. picea, Drysiphe heraclei, Erysiphe heraclei, E.
polygoni, E. taurica, E. umbelliferarum, Fusarium acuminatum, F. avenaceum, F.
culmorum, F. equiseti, F. oxysporum, F. poae, F. roseum, F. solani,
Helicobasidium mompa, H. purpureum, Helminthosporium apii, Heteropatella
lacera, Leveillula taurica, L. umbelliferarum, Macrophomina phaseoli,
Macrosporium carotae, Mycosphaerella sagechioides, Myrothecium roridum,
Oidiopsis taurica, Pellicularia filamentosa, Phoma rostripii, P. sanguinolenta,
Phomopsis dauci, Phymatotrichum omnivorum, Phytophthora cactorum, P.
megasperma, Plasmopara dauci, Pleospora vulgaris, Pseudoplea trifolii, Puccinia
chaerophylli, Pythium bluteri, P. debaryanum, P. spinosum, Ramularia
pastinacae, Rhizoctonia carotae, R. crocorum, R. microsclerotia, R. solani, R.
violacea, Rhizopus nigricans, R. tritici, Sclerotinia fuckeliana, S.
libertiana, S. sclerotiorum, Sclerotium rolfsii, Septoria apii, S. carotae,
Sordaria fimicola, Stemphylium radicinum, S. botryosum, Trichothecium roseum,
Typhula variabilis, and Uromyces scirpi. Following bacteria may
cause disease: Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Bacillus carotovorus, B. polymyxa,
B. subtilis, Bacterium aroidea, B. carotovorum, Erwinia aroideae, E.
atroseptica, E. carotovora, E. phytophthora, Pectobacterium carotovorum,
Pseudomonas carotae, P. marginalius, and Xanthomonas carotae.
Following viruses have been isolated: Argentine sunflower, Aster yellows,
Cucumber mosaic, Motley dwarf, Stolbur, Tobacco mosaic, and Curly top virus.
Chlorisis may be caused by magnesium deficiency and causes of black-heart and
root girdle are not known. Cuscuta gronovii, C. arvensis, and
Orobanche muteli are known to parasitize carrots. Like most root
crops, carrots are susceptible to nematodes, including the following:
Belonolaimus gracilis, Ditylenchus destructor, D. dipsaci, Helicotylenchus
dihystera, H. pseudorobustus, Hemicycliophora similes, H. typica, Heterodera
carotae, Hoplolaimus galeatus, Longidorus maximus, Meloidogyne arenaria, M.
hapla, M. incognita acrita, M. javanica, Merlinius, brevidens, Nacobbus
aberrans, Pratylenchus crenatus, P. penetrans, P. pratensis, P. neglectus., P.
vulnus, Paratylenchus hamatus, Rotylenchulus reniformis, R. robustus, R.
uniformis, Radopholus similes, Trichodorus teres, and Tylenchorhynchus
claytoni. Many diseases have insect vectors, such as maggot flies
(Delia platura and H. radicum) for bacterial soft rot (Erwinia
carotovora and E. atrosseptica); six-spotted leaf-hoppers
(Macrosteles fascifrons) for Aster yellows virus. Other insect
and mite pests of carrots are: Wireworms, which are the yellowish cylindrical
larvae of click beetles; Carrot rust fly (Psila rosae); Carrot weevils
(Listronotus oregonensis, Listroderes costirostris obliquus); Carrot
beetles (Bothynus gibbosus); Western parsley caterpillar (Papilio
zelicaon); Black cutworm (Agrotisipsilon); Six-spotted leafhopper
(Macrosteles fascifrons); Cabbage loopers (Trichoplusia ni);
Celery looper (Syngrapha falcifera); May beetle (Phyllophaga
cribrosa); Celery rust mite (Aculus eurynotus); Carrot bud mite
(Eriophyes peucedani); Clover mite (Bryobia praetiosa);
Two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae); Spinach crown mite
(Tyrophagus dimidiatus); and several aphids, the most common being
Cavariella aegopodii, and over 11 species are involved with spreading
western celery mosaic virus to carrots. Blister beetles, grasshoppers,
seed-crown maggots, and cabbage maggots can be real pests (Reed, 1976).
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- C.S.I.R. (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). 1948-1976. The wealth
of India. 11 vols. New Delhi.
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 1-61. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
- Duke, J.A. 1979. Ecosystematic data on economic plants. Quart. J. Crude Drug
- Holm, L.G., Pancho, J.V., Herberger, J.P., and Plucknett, D.L. 1979. A
geographical atlas of world weeds. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
- Reed, C.F. 1976. Information summaries on 1000 economic plants. Typescripts
submitted to the USDA.
last update July 10, 1996