Carrot from Microsoft clip artThe scientific name for the carrot is Daucus carota var. sativus.  This name is an composite with origins in Latin and Greek.  The word daucus is Latin for parsnip or carrot, while carota is Greek for carrot.  Sativus is a word used to describe the subspecies and literally means cultivated in Latin.  When put together the name means cultivated carrot, which perfectly describes the species.  Beyond having a scientific name the carrot  also has a complete classification that organizes the species into groups of related organisms.  The classification and the reasons that  Daucus carota var. sativus is placed into each level classification is presented below.

Pile of carrots taken by Peter Hordyk
Domain: Eukaryota

Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Apiales

Family: Apiaceae

Genus: Daucus

Species: Daucus carota var. sativus


Domain Eukaryota: The cells of Daucus carota var. sativus contain membrane bound organelles and DNA that is confined to a nucleus.

Kingdom Plantae: Daucus carota var. sativus is photosynthetic, has cell walls made of cellulose, and has both sporophytes and gametophytes.

Phylum Magnoliophyta: Daucus carota var. sativus is a flowering plant.

Class Magnoliopsida: Dicotyledons: Daucus carota var. sativus possesses vascular tissue which is arranged in a ring, has a tap root, and has flowers with five petals.

Order Apiales: The flowers of Daucus carota var. sativus are simple, and have the ability to self pollinate.  

Family Apiaceae: (formally recognized as Umbelliferae)The family has characteristic umbel flower clusters with bisexual flowers.  The flowers usually have five sepals and five stamens.  Ovaries of apiaceae have two locules and produce a schizocarp fruit. The plants also have hollow stems, and alternating compound leaves which generally lack stipules.  Daucus carota var. sativus possesses all of these traits.

Genus Daucus: This genus is comprised of the wild carrots, which are recognized by their tap roots and umbel flower arrangement.

Species Daucus carota var. sativus: This species has large tap root that is often conical in shape.  The tap roots flesh is found in varied colors but is most often red, orange, or white. Also the flowers of the cultivated carrot are usually sterile due to several types of male sterility.  Although sterile,  the flowers are still just as numerous and retain the umbel formation.  


To learn about the phylogeny of carrots click here.