PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Moon Carrot (Seseli gummiferum)

It could be someone’s chosen spiritual name. It could be a character in a whimsical children’s book (The Grand Adventures of Moon Carrot and the Azure Fairy?) Or, it could be a beautiful, unexpected, and wonderfully versatile flowering plant for difficult spaces.

Moon Carrot has held a place in the pharmacology of traditional medicine in cultures throughout the Black Sea region for thousands of years. It has many uses from antiseptic to antiflatulent and now studies are proving that its numerous folk uses were right on. Its happy home is on exposed mountainsides with unreliable water and nutrients. Perhaps its fortitude, thriving in difficult conditions, is also what makes it a powerful healer.

Useful, yes, but it is also strikingly beautiful with compound white blooms that look like they were precisely arranged by an architect. Moon Carrot is a biennial which means it spends its first year growing foliage and the second year flowering, then going to seed, dying, and being replaced by its seedlings in the third year. You might get it to behave like a perennial if you cut the flower stem down immediately after the blooms are spent. The foliage is an intriguing mounded tangle of slender, tousled, silver-grey-green leaves about 1+ foot high. Sturdy stems arise, topped with dozens of small white umbels that function as one big umbel about 2 feet high. Drought tolerant, but responds appreciatively to watering.

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