Before the 17th Century, Almost All Cultivated Carrots Were Purple or White.

Before the 17th Century, Almost All Cultivated Carrots Were Purple or White.

The cultivated carrot is one of the most important root vegetables grown in temperate regions of the world. It was derived from the wild carrot, which has whitish/ivory coloured roots. The most popular, orange rooted carrot, is derived from yellow rooted domestic varieties.

The modern day orange carrot wasn't cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including yellow and white carrots.

The centre of diversity for the carrot is in Central Asia, and the first cultivation of carrot for its storage root is reported to be in the Afghanistan region, approximately 1,100 years ago. Long before carrot was domesticated, wild carrot had become widespread, as seeds were found in Europe dating back nearly 5,000 years ago. Today wild carrot is found around the world in temperate regions, particularly in wild areas, road sides and agricultural land.