Wild carrot

Wild carrot (Daucus carota L.)

Life Cycle:

Biennial or short-lived perennial. Emerges primarily in spring, but also in summer and fall. Forms a basal rosette of leaves the first year and an erect flowering stalk the following year, flowering occurs from July to September. Plants die after flowering. Some plants may act as an annual and flower in the first year.


Most seeds germinate from 1/4-inch soil depth, however wild carrot can germinate from depths of 4-inches.


Mode(s) of Reproduction: Reproduces by seed.

Production Range: One plant can produce between 1,000 to 40,000 seeds.

Dispersal Mechanisms: When seeds are mature the dry umbel (flower) flexes outward releasing seed, the umbel then closes under damp conditions. The cycle is repeated. Some seed will be dispersed short distances by wind or longer distances by animals (hooked spines of seed attach to fur).

Longevity: Seeds can remain dormant in the soil for several years.

Dormancy: Initially dormant, by 6 months 20% of wild carrot seed germinates. 


Moderately competitive, dependent on wild carrot populations.

Preferred Soil/Field Conditions:

Grows on well-drained to dry soils, with low to moderate soil fertility.�



Predation/grazing: Sheep, horses, and cattle will graze on wild carrot. Dairy cow consumption of wild carrot in large quantities will taint milk. Lygus plant bug species nymphs can destroy the embryos of wild carrot seed. Wild carrot roots can be attacked by maggots of carrot rust fly, lesion nematodes and root knot nematodes.

Decay: No information.


Tillage: Uprooting, chopping, and then burying the taproots will control wild carrot (that is why wild carrot is not a problem in tilled cropping systems).

Rotary Hoeing: Not effective.

Flaming: No information.

Mowing: Susceptible to mowing or clipping at the flowering stage. Frequent mowing reduces wild carrot size and seed production. A single clipping in July has been shown to stop seed production.


Crop rotation: Mostly a problem in rotations that have little soil disturbance (no-till and perennial crops).

Planting date: Most likely will not affect wild carrot infestations.


Application timing and effectiveness: Spring applications of labeled herbicides are effective in controlling seedling wild carrot. However, once wild carrot becomes established fall herbicide applications are more effective. Sequential herbicide applications may be necessary for control. Please refer to E-434, "MSU Weed Control Guide for Field Crops," for herbicide recommendations.

Additional Information
Can serves as an alternate host for aster yellows, which can cause losses in cultivated carrot crops.