Danger: Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction
Bloom Color: White/Near White
Bloom Time: Mid Spring Late Spring/Early Summer
Foliage: Grown for foliage Herbaceous Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured
Other details: May be a noxious weed or invasive Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season Suitable for growing in containers
Soil pH requirements: 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic) 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline) 7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
On May 28, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
American wild carrot (Daucus pusillus) is also known as rattlesnake weed and southwestern Carrot and is a plant that grows natively in many states. It is considered a noxious weed by many.
In Texas, it can be found growing in the South Texas Plains and the Edwards Plateau regions on barrens, meadows, plains, dry hills, roadsides, streambanks and waste areas. It is not picky about soil types. Simple to few-branched and erect, it grows 2 to 3 feet tall and its roots have a characteristic carrot odor. The leaves are fern-like and lacy (alternate, pinnate and compound). The stems are retrorsely-hispid (covered in rigid or bristly hairs that are directed back or downwards). The leaves are eaten by white-tailed deer.
It blooms March or April through June/July. The flat to cupped, 1 1/4 to 2 inch wide flowerhead is composed of several tiny, white, 5-petalled, 5-staminated flowers gathered in a compound umbel. They do not have a red or purplish central flower that is characteristic of Queen Ann's lace (Daucus carota). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and is self-fertile; however, they are pollinated by beetles and flies as well. The flowers are subtended by sturdy, lacy bracts (modified leaves) which support them (and later the fruit). The bracts may be longer than the flower cluster is wide. The flowers are not long lasting and begin turning into fruit quite quickly. The oblong fruit (seed pods) each have two rows of stiff bristles.
The root is edible either raw or cooked (see caution below). The plant is thought to be an antipruritic and blood purifier. It has been used to treat colds, itches and fevers. It obtained the common name "rattle snake weed" because a poultice of the chewed plant has been used to treat to snakebites. Recent studies have indicated that it may be a cancer preventative.
If the sap contacts the skin of some people, dermatitis and/or photo-sensitivity can occur. The taproot and the leaves are easily confused with poison hemlock (conium maculatum which is one of the most deadly poisonous wild flowering plants. I would be very careful about eating wild carrot as food.