Wild Caraway

Carum carvi

Wild caraway (Carum carvi) is a biennial plant that invades pastures, rangeland and natural areas and is identified by white groups of flowers at the top of several erect, branched stems that grows 60-90 cm tall. Alternate leaves are very finely divided and 'carrot-like.' Flowers are hermaphroditic and therefore self-fertile, and this plant is difficult to detect when not in flower. It develops a parsnip-like taproot with a black skin and white core.

Native to Eurasia, wild caraway entered Canada as a spice crop (used in rye breads and some liquors) but has escaped cultivation. Though edible, it is not utilized by livestock and can quickly displace nearby vegetation where infestations go uncontrolled. Infestations in forage crops have led to weed seed dispersal in baled hay. 

Wild caraway succeeds under forest canopy but not in complete shade, and can survive a light frost or extra moisture in the soil. 

Control wild caraway with repeated hand-pulling before seed-set. Seeds can scatter easily, so use a plastic bag to carefully place over mature plants and dispose at a landfill or thoroughly burned. Several years' of monitoring and removal is required to deplete the seed bank. Note that repeated mowing of wild caraway is not effective, as plants re-bloom below cutting height.

Gallery: Wild Caraway

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