Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Carrots and Their Ancestors

Growing in amongst our carrots this year was lots of Queen Anne's Lace. The leaves are very similar, so we left them, never quite sure which was which. When it was time to dig up the carrots, here's what we got. The ones on the left are the weed, which coincidentally happens to be the ancestor of the cultivated carrot (Queen's Anne's Lace is also called "Wild Carrot"). No wonder they look so similar!

Breaking open a root, the Queen Anne's Lace looked quite different from a normal carrot. It's not considered to be edible. The modern carrot is said to have a mutation whereby some really tough, woody tissue in the root (xylem) is missing, making them edible. I'll take their word for it.

When I picture Queen Anne's Lace, I picture flowers, not roots. The photo above is Queen Anne's Lace near Short Beach in Stratford. This flower grows up and down our highways. And when I picture carrots, flowers don't come to mind. I've never seen a carrot flower. Have you? So here's a link to an agricultural field of carrots in bloom. Look anything like the above photo?

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