Carrot (Daucus carota), herbaceous, generally biennial plant of the Apiaceae family that produces an edible taproot. Among common varieties root shapes range from globular to long, with lower ends blunt to pointed. Besides the orange-colored roots, white-, yellow-, and purple-fleshed varieties are known. Wild carrot (subspecies D. carota carota, also called Queen Anne’s lace) is native to Eurasia and is thought to have been domesticated in Central Asia around 1000 ce. Prehistoric seeds have been found in archaeological digs, suggesting that the plant was used medicinally before the domestication of its edible root. Carrots were cultivated in China and northwestern Europe by the 13th century, and wild carrot was unintentionally distributed as a weed in the United States during European colonization. Domesticated carrots (subspecies D. carota sativus) are now extensively grown throughout temperate zones. In the 20th century, knowledge of the value of carotene (provitamin A) increased appreciation of the carrot, a rich source of the nutrient.