The edible carrot (Daucus carrota sp. sativus) is the Apiaceae family in the Umbelliferous order of plants. This family contains several other plants, often considered weeds that have leaves resembling the green lacy and finely cut carrot leaves. Some of these weedy carrot cousins are harmless, but one of them is deadly poisonous.
Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) is in the Apiacea family and is widely recognised by its lacy white flower umbel. A flower umbel resembles an upturned umbrella. Queen Anne's Lace is harmless if ingested. Queen Anne's lace has an identifying dark purple-black-red spot in the middle of the white flower umbel. The usual height for Queen Anne's lace is 2 to 3 feet tall. Queen Anne's Lace is also referred to as "wild carrot" because the root often smells like an edible carrot. it is the forerunner of the domesticated edible carrot found in markets.
Water hemlock (Conium spp.) belongs to a genus of plants in the Apiaceae family. There are four types of water hemlock plants and all parts of all of these plants are deadly poisonous if ingested. These plants also have white flower umbels and one of them, Conium virosa has finely cut feathery leaves. Water hemlock plants tend to grow in moist places and alongside streams. They are much taller than Queen Anne's Lace. Conium maculatum reaches 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a perennial that grows wild in meadows and along roadsides. It has an upturned flat-topped flower. Wild yarrow flower is white however there are numerous cultivars available in nurseries and through mail order companies. Cultivar flowers range from yellow to pink to deep paprika red. The leaves on all yarrow whether wild or cultivated are finely cut and feathery.
Identifying Wild Plants.
Since wild plants have similar flower and leaf properties to edible plants, positive identification is essential. Do not eat wild plants unless positively identified by an expert. According to herbalist John Lust, "even blowing a whistle made from the hollow stem of the hemlock plant has caused poisoning."
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