Flower 18 · “Bird’s-nest”

North Pampletine Cliffs

A common umbellifer of high summer, especially on dry grassy places on chalk soils, wild carrot is a variable plant, but normally grows up to three feet tall. The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open; then white and rounded, with a festoon of bracts beneath; finally, as they turn to seed, they contract and become concave like birds’-nests. The leaves smell of carrots, as do the roots, but these are thin and wiry and bear little resemblance to the thick, orange tap-roots of the cultivated vegetable. It is believed these were developed from a distinct subspecies, ssp. Sativus, probably native to the Mediterranean, and brought to Britain in the fifteenth century.

Flora Britannica, Richard Mabey

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