This is a list of wild edible plants in the Carrot, Apiaceae, Umbelliferae family that have historically been used as food. It is for information, education and research purposes only.
If you wish to experiment with these species you must do further research in order to find out how to cook and prepare the plants as food.
Where possible I have gone directly to the ethnobotanical research paper where the plant is listed as being used as food at some point in human culture.
I have not used pop-culture foraging books or websites that simply regurgitate “urban legends” on the edibility of a plant without citing any references.
The information here is simply a guide. A starting point.
Unless you are 100% certain how to identify and prepare members of the carrot family as food, then they are best left well alone.
Some edible species are almost indistinguishable from poisonous lookalikes. This is not a family for beginners or novices.
Many members of the Carrot family can cause phytophotodermatitis so their consumption or handling can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight. You need to gather the plants with gloves in order to avoid a “contact reaction”.
Plants hybridise, so what might have been recorded as safe to eat in the past (e.g. Middle Ages) may not be today.
This is just a partial list of edible members of the carrot family. It is in no way complete.
Please note that some species can only be eaten cooked. Never assume a wild food plant can be consumed raw. If in doubt, always cook plants.
I have deliberately not included photos, as I only had a few photos of some of the plants listed below. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make absolutely certain you have identified correctly any plants in the carrot, apiaceae, umbelliferae family – Nature weeds out stupid people!
Ajwain: Trachyspermum ammi
RARE – Parts used: Fruits as a condiment. 3
Alexanders: Smyrnium olusatrum
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Shoots, leaf, leaf stalks, flower stalk, buds, flowers, fruit, seed, root. 36
Bladderseed: Physospermum cornubiense
RARE – Parts used: Unknown 40
Bullwort: Ammi majus
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Leaves, fruits, root. 15
Burnet Saxifrage: Pimpinella saxifraga
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Young leaves and shoots eaten. 50
Caraway: Carum carvi
RARE – Parts used: Leaves, stems, seed. 26
Coriander: Coriandrum sativum
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Leaves, leafstalks, flowers, fruits, seed. 41
Cow Parsley: Anthriscus sylvestris
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, stalk, flowers, fruits, seed 13, 26
Dill: Anethum graveolens
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Leaves, seed. 41
Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, flower, seed. 42
Field Eryngo: Eryngium campestre
PROTECTED – Parts used: Young shoots, root. 18
Fool’s Watercress: Apium nodiflorum
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves. 15
Garden Angelica: Angelica archangelica
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Leaves, leaf stalks, flower stalks. 31
Golden Chervil: Chaerophyllum aureum
RARE – Parts used: Stem 4, 11
Great Pignut: Bunium bulbocastanum
RARE – Parts used: Tuber 37
Greater Burnet Saxifrage: Pimpinella major
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, stems, roots. 12, 14
Ground Elder: Aegopodium podagraria
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, stem, seed. 26
Hartwort: Tordylium maximum
RARE – Parts used: Rosette. 21, 22
Hogweed: Heracleum sphondylium
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Young, shoots, leaf stems, root, fruit, seed, 8, 34
Knotted Hedge Parsley: Torilis nodosa
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Unknown. Scarce information available. 7, 32
Longleaf: Falcaria vulgaris
SCARCE – Parts used: Young shoots, leaves, leaf stalks. 28, 39, 51
Lovage: Levisticum officinale
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Flowers, leaves, root, seed, stem. 42
Marsh Pennywort: Hydrocotyle vulgaris
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Young leaves. 29
Masterwort: Peucedanum ostruthium
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Leaves, rhizome, root. 6, 45
Milk Parsley: Peucedanum palustre
RARE – Parts used: Root. 26
Moon Carrot: Seseli libanotis
RARE – Parts used: Shoots. 4, 24, 49
Parsley: Petroselinum crispum
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Leaves, leaf stalk, root. 41
Pepper Saxifrage: Silaum silaus
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves. 46
Perfoliate Alexanders: Smyrnium perfoliatum
SCARCE – Parts used: Flowers, leaves, stem. 17
Pignut: Conopodium majus
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Tuber. 20, 37
Rock Samphire: Crithmum maritimum
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, flowers, seed. 19, 25
Scots Lovage: Ligusticum scoticum
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Young shoots, leaf stalks, stem, root. 48
Sea Holly: Eryngium maritimum
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Shoots, leaves, root. 35, 43
Shepherd’s Needle: Scandix pecten-veneris
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Young leaves, stem tops. 5, 9
Spignel: Meum athamanticum
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Leaves, root. 10
Spreading Hedge Parsley: Torilis arvensis
OCCASIONAL – Parts used: Seed. 23
Stone Parsley: Sison amomum
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, seed, root. 38
Sweet Cicely: Myrrhis odorata
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, seed, root. 27
Wild Angelica: Angelica sylvestris
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Young shoots, flowers, seed. 2, 26
Wild Carrot: Daucus carota
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaf, root, seed. 16, 44, 47
Wild Celery: Apium graveolens
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Leaves, seed, root. 18
Wild Parsnip: Pastinaca sativa
ABUNDANT – Parts used: Root. 33
References Used For Wild Edible Plants of the Carrot Family
- Anon (n.d.) BRIT – Native American Ethnobotany Database.
- Anon (n.d.) Edible Wild Plant Use in the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
- Anon (n.d.) Nutritional, Phytochemical Potential and Pharmacological Evaluation of Nigella Sativa (kalonji) and Trachyspermum Ammi (ajwain).
- Anon (n.d.) Review of Wild Edible Plants on the Turkish Apiaceae Species.
- Anon (n.d.) Scandix Pecten-Veneris L.: A Wild Green Leafy Vegetable.
- Anon (n.d.) The Wild Food (plants and Insects) in Western Friuli Local Knowledge (friuli-Venezia Giulia, North Eastern Italy).
- Anon (n.d.) Traditional Use of Herbs, Shrubs and Trees of Shogran Valley, Mansehra, Pakistan.
- Bahadori, M. B. et al. (2016) The Genus Heracleum: A Comprehensive Review on Its Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, and Ethnobotanical Values as a Useful Herb. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 15 (6), 1018–103 9.
- Belahsen, R. & Tbatou, M. (n.d.) Wild Edible Plants Traditionally Used in the Countryside of El Jadida, Coastal Area in the Center of Morocco Manal Tbatou1, Abdelmonaim Belahyan2, Rekia Belahsen.
- Boseva, K. Y. & Bosseva, Y. Z. (2016) Edible and Medicinal Plants in the Cloister Gardens of West Europe ( 800 S – 900 S AD ), in 2016 p.
- Çakir, E. A. (2017) Traditional Knowledge of Wild Edible Plants of Igdir Province (east Anatolia, Turkey). Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae.
- Cerne, M. (1992) Wild Plants from Slovenia Used as Vegetables. Acta Horticulturae. (318), 87–96.
- Chen, H. et al. (2014) Antitumor Constituents from Anthriscus Sylvestris. Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP. 15 (6), 2803–2807.
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- Della, A. et al. (2006b) An Ethnobotanical Survey of Wild Edible Plants of Paphos and Larnaca Countryside of Cyprus. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 2 (1), 34.
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- Ersin Minareci (2012) Proximate Composition, Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Six Wild Edible Celeries (smyrnium L.). African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 6 (13).
- Facciola, S. (1998) Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants. Vista, CA: Kampong Publications.
- Franke, W. (1982) Vitamin C in Sea Fennel (Crithmum maritimum), an Edible Wild Plant. Economic Botany. 36 (2), 163–165.
- González, J. A. et al. (2011) The Consumption of Wild and Semi-Domesticated Edible Plants in the Arribes Del Duero (salamanca-Zamora, Spain): An Analysis of Traditional Knowledge. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 58 (7), 991–1006.
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- Kalle, R. & Soukand, R. (2012) Historical Ethnobotanical Review of Wild Edible Plants of Estonia (1770s-1960s). Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae. 81 (4).
- Kays, S. J. (2011) Cultivated Vegetables of the World: A Multilingual Onomasticon. Wageningen Academic Publishers.
- Koca, I. et al. (2015) Some Wild Edible Plants and Their Dietary Fiber Contents. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. 14 (4), 188–194.
- Kosaka, Y. et al. (2013) Wild Edible Herbs in Paddy Fields and Their Sale in a Mixture in Houaphan Province, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Economic Botany. 67 (4), 335–349.
- Kunkel, G. (1984) Plants for Human Consumption: An Annotated Checklist of the Edible Phanerogams and Ferns. Koenigstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.
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- Luczaj, L., Zovko Koncic, M., et al. (2013) Wild Vegetable Mixes Sold in the Markets of Dalmatia (southern Croatia). Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 9 (1), 2.
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