Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
Moon carrot is an odd name for this rather odd-looking plant. As a member of Apiaceae (the parsley family), it is indeed a relative of the carrot, but its origins are not extra-terrestrial. In reality, it is native to the coasts of the Black Sea and the Aegean.
In common with many seaside plants, the moon carrot (Seseli gummiferum) is protected from strong sunlight and desiccation. The leaves are covered with a fine coating of wax, which reflects the sun’s rays and helps to prevent moisture-loss from contact with salty seawater spray.
The flowers first appear in flattened clusters of pinkish discs, but turn to white as they mature. The disks change, too, and slowly become a collection of white, fluffy balls.
See it blooming right now in the Dry Garden, adjacent to the Herb Garden.