Friday, 24 July 2009

Carrots

Two members of the carrot family today. Some members of this family are highly poisonous (Water Hemlock for example), these two examples however are edible. Firstly the Wild Carrot (Daucus carota).
The cultivated and well-known vegetable carrot is a cultivar of a sub-species of this plant. The roots of the Wild Carrot are edible when young but quickly become woody and too tough to eat. Commonly seen growing in damp wasteland in Britain, it is easily confused with some of it's many relatives. True, Wild Carrots can be identified by the single red flower at the centre of the inflorescence of creamy-white flowers.
One of it's relatives is the Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris).
We all remember the small slivers of green angelica used to decorate cakes and puddings when we were kids - you just don't see it any more! Bright, fluorescent green slivers of angelica stems have fallen out of favour but the roots are sometimes used to flavour gin and are often used in Chartreuse.
Tall and stately, standing over 6ft in some cases, the heads of flowers atop the stems have, from a distance, the look of small cauliflowers. Beautiful!
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