North West Weeds
Although not declared as a noxious weed, this plant may well be of concern because of its potential to spread. Each plant produces thousands of seed, and the seed is being moved by mowing/slashing, wind, animal and vehicle movements.
Auld & Medd's excellent reference "Weeds" book (Inkata Press - ISBN 0 909605.37.8) refers to Daucus glochidiatus, common name "Australian carrot" (P74) as native to Australia. It states the plant is "widespread in Australia and found in cool moist to arid habitats in all States. Reputed to taint milk if ingested in quantity, it is otherwise regarded as a weed due to its burr-like fruits which adhere to wool and clothing. A similar species D. carota L. has 10 subspecies, one of which, ssp. sativus (Hoffm.) Thell., is the cultivated carrot. The other subspecies are referred to as wild carrots".
To quote directly from Wikipedia, the free world-wide encyclopedia:
"Wild carrot, or Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe and southwest Asia; domesticated carrots are cultivars of this species as well.
It is a biennial plant growing up to 1 m tall, bearing an umbel of bright white flowers that turn into a "bird's nest" seed case after blooming. Very similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock, it is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in its centre.
Like the cultivated carrot, the wild carrot root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume.
A teaspoon of crushed seeds has long been used as a form of natural birth control - its use for this purpose was first described by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago. Research conducted on mice has offered a degree of confirmation for this use - it was found that Wild carrot disrupts the implantation process, and is thus an abortifacient. Chinese studies have also indicated that the seeds block progesterone synthesis, which could explain this effect.
It is recommended that, as with all herbal remedies and wild food gathering, one use appropriate caution. Extra caution should be used in this case, as it bears close resemblance to a dangerous species (see Water Hemlock). The leaves of the wild carrot can be a skin irritant, so caution should also be used when handling the plant.
Queen Anne's lace?
Wild carrot was introduced and naturalised in North America, where it is often known as "Queen Anne's lace". It is so called because the flower resembles lace; in the case of wild carrot, the red flower in the centre represents a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny red flower, coloured by anthocyanin, is to attract insects."
MCPA appears to be a likely herbicide option for treatment of wild carrot, but this is yet to be officially confirmed.
Editor's comment to weeds officers and other interested persons:
Have you seen Daucus carota in your part of the world? Is it a problem? I have heard it is readily eaten by stock - has anyone heard of any stock losses that have been attributed to this plant - Daucus carota?
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