Moon carrot is a rare wildflower
Although Seseli libanotis is rare, it is common near my house in Sussex and in June is easy to spot and numerous along the cliff path between Seaford and Hope Gap. You know you’re in the right area when you see the noticeboard about it, as I spotted on my May hike over Seaford Head.
Seseli libanotis likes chalk grassland
The unusual wildflower is happy on the South Downs and doesn’t seem to struggle with the salt laden sea winds. It can be a relatively large plant in more sheltered positions – the ones I saw were up to about 50cm tall. It is from the carrot family, but sometimes a more substantial plant than wild carrot, Daucus carota, with large divided downy foliage. What makes it easy to identify once you have spotted that it is a carrot, is the convex shape of the umbel. I recently heard it described as resembling a cauliflower – presumably it’s this shape that gives it the description “moon”. Some of the umbels were more noticeably rounded than others. It flowers from June to August.
Moon carrot on Seaford Head
Moon carrot is a white flower without the characteristic carrot dot in the centre of the umbel, and its buds are sometimes pinkish.
Moon carrot can be visually similar to Sea carrot, Daucus carota ssp gummifer – see upcoming page on wild carrots.
Blog posts mentioning Moon carrot – Seseli libanotis are tagged Moon-carrot