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a genus of plants of the family Umbelliferae. They are biennial and, less frequently, annual or perennial herbs with pinnately decompound leaves. There are up to 60 known species, distributed in Mediterranean countries, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and America.
The best-known species is the carrot (Daucus sativus, or D. carote), a biennial with a coarse, woody, whitish root. Cultivated forms of Daucus include those used for food and those used for fodder. In the first year the plant forms an edible root with a radical rosette of leaves; in the second year it forms a flower stalk. The flowers are bisexual and gathered into a compound umbel. There is cross-pollination. The fruit is a dry diachenium. The seeds have a distinctive odor as a result of the essential oils they contain. The fleshy, rounded edible root is truncate-conical, cylindrical, or funnel-shaped; it weighs 30–100 g (sometimes to 200 g or more). The roots of garden varieties are red or orangered (less frequently, yellow); in fodder varieties, they are white, yellow, white with green tops, or red. In some wild and semicultivated Middle Asian varieties the roots are dark purple (almost black). The color of the roots is due to pigments.
The species D. sativus resulted from the crossbreeding of D. maxinus with D. carota. Carrots were cultivated by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Their cultivation became widespread in Europe in the 14th century. Carrots are raised in Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. In the USSR they are grown almost everywhere. The root of the garden carrot contains on the average 88.8 percent water, 1.1 percent nitrogenous matter, 0.2 percent fat, 9.2 percent carbohydrates, and 0.7 percent ash. Carrots are rich in vitamins B1, B2, and PP, as well as in provitamin A, or carotene (up to 25 mg percent). Carrots are eaten in raw and cooked form, used as flavoring, canned, and dried. Carotene and carrot juice are extracted from them. Carrots are a valuable feed for all types of agricultural animals. The harvest is 300–400 quintals per hectare (ha) or greater. Among varieties that have been regionalized are the carotene (Losinoostrovskaia 13, Nantes 4, Moscow Winter A-515, and Chantenay 2461) and the low-carotene (Mirzoi Red 228, Mshaki-surkh, Mirzoi Yellow 304, and Mshak 195).
The best soils for carrots are light sandy loams, fertile garden soils, and soddy alluvials. Carrots are relatively cold resistant and drought resistant. The seeds sprout at a temperature of 4°–5°C between 15 and 20 days. During plowing at least 30 tons/ha of humus should be applied; on acid soils, 10–15 quintals/ha of lime should be added. The seeds are sprouted five or six days before sowing. Sowing is done with seeding machines. Care includes thinning, killing weeds with herbicides, applying mineral fertilizers, and irrigating during dry periods. For early production, the seeds are sown in late fall. Insect pests include the carrot rust fly, Depressaria depresella, and Loxostege palealis. Diseases include powdery mildew, downy mildew, phomosis, leaf blight, dry rot, and black rot.
REFERENCESAgapov, S. P. Morkov’, sel’derei, petrushka, pasternak. Moscow, 1955.
Drobysheva, N. A. Morkov’ petrushka, pasternak. Moscow, 1961.
Markov, V. M. Ovoshchevodstvo. Moscow, 1966.
P. F. TEREKHOV