Slender annual, 0.5-6(-9) dm, ±hirsute; ultimate lf-segments linear, to 1 mm wide; invol bracts not scarious-margined, with segments under 1 cm, closely appressed to the infl in fr; fls all white (seldom purplish), the umbellets mostly 5-12-fld; fr 3-5 mm, usually broadest below the middle; 2n=22. Dry, open places, somewhat weedy; widespread in s. U.S., n. to Mo. and N.C., and to be expected in s. Va. May-July.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Baldwin et al 2014
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Winter-spring annual with stiff white hairs, sometimes papilla-based, on stems and inflorescence branches. Stems slender, 7-50 cm. Leaves: Highly dissected (3- or 4- pinnatasect) into small, linear segments. Flowers: White to cream, in densely flowered compound umbels on stout peduncles 3-30 cm; subtended by leafy bracts, the bracts at least as long as the umbel branches; sepals absent; petals tiny, 0.6 mm, white to pale yellow. Fruits: Burlike, the body dark colored, 3 mm, intricately sculptured with yellow barb-tipped spines. Ecology: Found in disturbed habitat, below 5,000 ft (1524 m); flowers March to May. Distribution: British Columbia south to CA, east over the south half of the US to VA; south to c MEX and in S. America. Notes: Looks similar and a close relative to the cultivated carrot. The wild progenitor of the cultivated carrot, Daucus carota (known as Queen Anne-s lace) has naturalized in some parts of the US, including California; D. carota can be distinguished from D. pusillus because it is a biennial, is generally taller, up to 1.2 m, and usually has at least 1 purple flower in each umbel. Distinguishing characteristics of D. pusillus are the bristly oblong fruits that have small barbs on the tips of the bristles (a trait of the genus; use a hand lens); the leaves and stems covered with small hairs, and the fact that it is a fairly small annual, usually ca. 20-30 cm tall, though it can be taller. Look also for the long bracts subtending the umbels, which have the same finely dissected morphology as the leaves and often extend past the flowers. Ethnobotany: Decoction of plant taken to clean the blood, as a remedy for colds, itching, fevers, and snakebite. Roots were gathered and eaten both raw and steamed. Etymology: Daucus is from the Greek dais -to burn- referring to the taste of the carrot root; pusillus means weak, small, or insignificant. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2014, AHazelton 2015