Daucus carota is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia and naturalised to northeast North America and Australia; domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus.
Daucus carota is a variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall and flowering from June to August. The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3–7 cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath; finally, as they turn to seed, they contract and become concave like a bird’s nest. The dried umbels detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds.
Very similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock, Daucus carota is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in its center.