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The most commonly eaten part of the plant is the taproot, although the stems and leaves are eaten as well.The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged, more palatable, less woody-textured taproot.Some close relatives of the carrot are still grown for their leaves and seeds, such as parsley, cilantro, coriander, fennel, anise, dill and cumin.The first mention of the root in classical sources is from the 1st century; The plant is depicted and described in the Eastern Roman Juliana Anicia Codex, a 6th-century AD Constantinopolitan copy of the Greek physician Dioscorides' 1st-century pharmacopoeia of herbs and medicines, De Materia Medica.The cluster is a compound umbel, and each umbel contains several smaller umbels (umbellets).The first (primary) umbel occurs at the end of the main floral stem; smaller secondary umbels grow from the main branch, and these further branch into third, fourth, and even later-flowering umbels.
The roots contain high quantities of alpha- and beta-carotene, and are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6, but the belief that eating carrots improves night vision is a myth put forward by the British in World War II to mislead the enemy about their military capabilities.
Carrots are a domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia.
The plant probably originated in Persia and was originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds.
As the plant grows, the bases of the seed leaves, near the taproot, are pushed apart.
The stem, located just above the ground, is compressed and the internodes are not distinct.