Seed head of wild carrot.

Hints of Autumn

Recently I posted photographs of wild carrot (Daucus carota) flowers and seed-heads. A little while later they developed further and started changing to more autumnal colours. (You can see my earlier post here: https://annmackay.blog/2021/09/19/going-to-seed-wild-carrot/ )

The seeds had already begun to turn red when I took my first set of photos, but as time passed, the whole plant began to take on red tints. It has been one of the first plants to show the change to autumn reds here. (Actually, we don’t have many in the garden that do – most of our plants, shrubs and trees develop yellow tones in autumn.)

In the top photograph, you can see that the little sub-bracts (bracteoles) behind the seeds have now become mostly red, with touches of a brownish orange. The stems and lower leaves also turned red. That’s something I hadn’t noticed in the previous couple of years that I’ve grown wild carrot. Maybe it’s because it has been colder at night than usual. It was evidently enough to encourage the bracts and leaves to turn a brilliant colour, rather than just yellowing before they died.

The leaf below just happened to be lit so that the late-afternoon sun was shining through parts of it, making it glow and stand out against the dark background. It gave me an opportunity for a photograph that I hadn’t expected. It seems that my garden is always able to surprise me!

red daucus leaf
Wild carrot leaf with autumn colouring.

17 thoughts on “Hints of Autumn

  1. The deep purply-red’s very pretty, and fascinating texture. Slightly creepy too, I can’t help seeing lots of creepy-crawlies with tiny white legs waving around! Over-active imagination lol.

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    1. LOL, yes, I can see why you said that! Good job that they were actually seeds though, because they ripened and I spent a little while yesterday sprinkling them around in borders. (And kept some seed for next spring.) They’ll probably take over now… πŸ™‚

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  2. I remember the earlier post and thinking this is a beautiful sight. So glad you posted the updated picture – such a rich deep fall color, and I love the intricacy of the plant. Leaves in that spot of sunlight are striking too!

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    1. I fell in love with these when I was on a garden visit. There was such a lovely variation in the flowers at the different stages of opening and maturing – from white to pink to deep red – and they were so delicate and lacy. I was keen to have my own so that I would be able to photograph them more easily.

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    1. Thank you Indira! I’ve had a huge reward from just a few plants I grew from seed a couple of years ago. Now they are re-seeding themselves happily, so I should have some to photograph every year. πŸ™‚

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  3. They’re absolutely lovely — but they ‘feel’ so wrong to me! I’m just so accustomed to the white native that I haven’t yet become accustomed to the thought that they can be different colors. It certainly is a great way to add autumn reds to your garden, though. The contrast between the reds and the white makes for an especially nice image. How great that you’re developing your own little seed bank. It will be fun to see how they do next year.

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    1. I can imagine that it must feel very strange to see a very different variety of a plant that you’re very familiar with – like pink daffodils! (I don’t know that they really are pink, because I’ve only seen photos, but they look very wrong to me, LOL!)

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  4. Hi Ann – what a beautiful image of the wild carrot above – great DOF! Also loved the leaves as the colors are fabulous. Looks like you are heading into fall rather quickly – still very hot here but that will change soon.

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    1. I’m glad you like it Syd! They are lovely to photograph over a long time – now I’m hoping that some of the seed heads can last until we get some frost… πŸ™‚ It does feel as if it has got cold very quickly, but that may partly be because we did get some unusually warm days recently. It must be confusing for plants and the wee creatures that live in the garden!

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  5. I’ve the same reaction as Linda. I expect them to be either white or brown as the season winds down. I wonder if we could have your subspecies here somewhere. The Native PLant site I check says they can be red but I’ve never seen one and their examples are all white. If it’s not already here then I would not import them as lovely as they may be but if here already then… πŸ™‚

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    1. The variety here – ‘Dara’ – was apparently a chance discovery at the trial grounds of a seed company near me. So I would imagine that you might get red or pink ones cropping up in the wild too. They self seed very easily, so I imagine they could be invasive! (There’s usually a single red floret in the white flower head of our white variety – so I suppose that the coloured flowers have evolved from that.)

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