Wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace)

Daucus carota L. Apiaceae (Carrot family)

Life cycle

Erect, fernlike biennial.

wild carrot seedling
Wild carrot seedling.

Leaves

First-year leaves originate from a basal rosette, followed by an erect flowering stem with few leaves in the second year. Cotyledons are long, very narrow and thin. Leaves are doubly compound, fernlike and attached by long stalks inflated at the base. Damaged leaves will emit a carrot-like odor.

wild carrot leaf
Fern-like leaf of wild carrot.

Stems

Erect, hollow, grooved, rough-hairy stems elongate during the second year, up to 5 feet tall with numerous branches.

Flowers and fruit

Numerous white flowers, often with a central purple flower, form terminal, 2- to 6-inch-wide, flat-topped clusters. Fruit have two egg-shaped sections; each section is yellow to grayish brown, flattened on one side and ridged with barbed spines.

wild carrot flower cluster
Wild carrot flower cluster.

Reproduction

Seeds.

Similar weeds

Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.)

Differs by having a rhizomatous perennial nature, more finely dissected leaves that lack a carrotlike odor, and a shorter, bushier appearance at maturity.

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum L.)

Differs by having hairless, waxy, purplespotted stems and dark, glossy green leaves that have a musty odor.

Print a PDF of this page: Wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace)

Back to identifying field weeds.

The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.