Weed of the Week: Wild Carrot

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota):

Wild Carrot, also known as queen anne’s lace, is a biennial broadleaf plant. Wild carrot forms a rosette of leaves the first year, then flowers, produces seed, and dies the second year. It forms a deep, whitish taproot that has a distinctive carrot odor.

Wild Carrot Root

Wild Carrot Root

Mature plants reach 2 to 4 feet tall and have erect stems and few branches. Leaves divide several times, forming many long, narrow segments. Leaves on the lower part of the plant have stalks. Those on the upper part of the plant are attached directly to the stem. White flowers are clustered at the end of the stem in a flat, umbrellalike structures (umbels) 2 to 4 inches in diameter.



Wild Carrot Flower

Wild Carrot Flower









Wild carrot is most likely to thrive under low- or no-maintenance conditions. It is extremely suited for dry, infertile locations such as our roadsides. Because wild carrot is a biennial it relies on exposed soil for germinating seed. Wild carrot is a common progression weed in fields that have been previously tilled and will often dominate in the second year. Vigorous stands of forage will likely prevent a second generation from establishing. Best time to spray with a herbicide is when it is in the basal rosette stage.

Wild Carrot in basal rosette stage

Wild Carrot in basal rosette stage








Wild carrot is often confused with Poison Hemlock (Conium maculaturm). Poison hemlock is a biennial that forms a rosette its first year, often going unnoticed, and then produces white umbel flowers (umbrella-like) on tall stems in the spring-summer of it’s second year. These types of flowers are common in the carrot family and are similar to wild carrot, which is often mistaken for this plant at younger stages. The second-year stems of poison hemlock are hairless and have purple spots, which help distinguish it from wild carrot.

Poison Hemlock vs Wild Carrot

While looking at the plants or touching them is generally not hazardous, all parts of poison hemlock are toxic if ingested by humans. It is also highly toxic to livestock and wildlife.

For more information and photos of Poison Hemlock use this link.

Herbicides can be effective for controlling poison hemlock when sprayed on first year plants and small plants before flowering in the second year. Mature, flowering plants will not likely be chemically control, and mechanical measure should be used prior to seed set.


Select Herbicide Options:


2, 4-D Amine

GrazonNext HL

Grazon P+D


Chaparral (for bermudagrass pastures, will destroy bahiagrass)

Pastora (for bermudagrass pastures, will destroy bahiagrass)

REMEMBER: THE LABEL IS THE LAW!  Always read the pesticide label before using.


Vanessa Corriher-Olson, Ph.D

Forage Extension Specialist

Soil & Crop Sciences, Overton, TX


Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Texas A&M University System

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