[Sca-cooks] Looking for references to orange carrots

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Sat Feb 27 22:00:56 PST 2010

>     According to the _National Geographic_, modern bright-orange sweet 
> carrots occurred as a true mutation discovered in an English field in the 
> mid 1700s. Because they were so startlingly sweet, they spread like 
> wildfire and caused the extinction of hundreds of other carrot varieties, 
> including the earlier 'rusty' orange carrots, which-- like most carrots in 
> the middle ages-- weren't at all sweet.
> Yours in service to both the Societies of which I am a member-
> (Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk, R.S.F.
> Alizaundre de Brebeuf, C.O.L. S.C.A.- AKA Una the wisewoman, or That Pict

Without an attribution or source, I consider the statement that orange 
carrots originating in an English field in the mid-1700s doubtful.  All 
modern orange carrots appear to stem from hybrids created in the 
Netherlands, the earliest of which is first described in 1721.  However, the 
orange carrots in the Netherlands appear to pre-date their description by at 
least 100 years.  Evidence of orange carrots written in English can be found 
in James Sutherland's Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis of 1683 about fifty years 
prior to the mutation referenced by National Geographic.

And just to make things more fun, John Stolcyzk has located a reference in 
the Bodelian Library, MS Ashmole 1431, folios 21v-22r (Bodley Herbal and 
Bestiary:  MS Bodley 130) written around 1100, which pictures orange 
carrots.  The drawings might be an artifact of faded red, but it is 


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