Purple Carrots

julie321(NL Z7)August 20, 2004

I've been looking for some seeds of purple/black carrots for next year and have come across 'Spanish Black' listed at Thomas Etty Esq. and 'Purple Dragon' listed at a few different places. I couldn't find Spanish Black anywhere else, and the details of it is no more than a blurb that states, "An ancient Spanish carrot". Purple Dragon is listed several places, but none of the places write on its history.

Can anyone help me find more info on either of these?

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Hi Julie....I found this on amishlandseeds.com...Not much detail, but I thought I'd pass it along.....

"The purple carrots have been cultivated in Afghanistan for a thousand years, while white and yellow carrots were common in Northern Europe before the 1600's These early purple and yellow carrots were used for human consumption as well as for animal fodder. By the 14th century, carrots had reached Europe and China. Europeans, preferring the yellow types for their tables, began selecting for culinary attributes such as flavor, texture, and storability. By the 1600s, white and orange carrots emerged on the scene, the latter being prized for the human diet, probably because of its rich color. Over the next 200 years, orange became the carrot color of choice."

I'm sure someone who has far more expertise will have more info. One place that might be of interest to you is the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at www.monticello.org/chp. Jefferson cultivated a lot of unusual plants, including vegetables and herbs. The Center might have something to offer you in the way of information.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 8:50AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The word black when used in reference to carrots really means purple, as I understand it.

Some SSE members list a black carrot by qualifying that the color is purple, not black.

Spanish Black is a name that has always been applied to a well known heirloom radish. That radish is usually round but can also grow ovoid or slightly elongated in which case I suppose someone somewhere might refer to it as a carrot, which it is not.

There are two excellent books on heirloom veggie history, one is Vilmorin and the other Fearing Burr's, both from the last century and both available in reprint.

The currently offered so called purple carrots, such as Purple Dragon, are modern bred varieties based on the purple carrot; they have yellow interiors. The goal has been to breed carrots with higher carotene content and the same thing is being done with cukes where yellow /orange fleshed ones are now bing released.

And as far as I'm concerned those purple carrots such as Purple Dragon don't taste very good at all. LOL I consider them to be a novelty.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 9:59AM
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julie321(NL Z7)

Carolyn, novelty indeed. I'm still curious.:)
I've found several references to varieties originating from Afghanistan and Turkey and It's these I'd really like to get ahold of. Apparently, the carrots are used in turkey to make natural dyes.
I've got some Afghani and Turkish gardening neighbors that I've asked to look around for purple/black carrots when they go home. There are also some being grown locally by a seedsavers group, but they don't offer seeds of it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 11:22AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Several SSE members do offers seeds of the black/purple original carrots from the mideast, one is specifically IDed from Afghanistan, for instance, and some are from gene banks, but thoses varieties are available only to SSE members, alas, so I do hope your neighbors will be able to help you out.

Have you checked out St Marthe in France and Association Kokopelli ( formerly Terre de Semances) to see if they carry any of the original purple ones?

Carolyn, wondering why a seed preservation group isn't offering seeds to others b/c that kind of goes against all that stands for dissemination of varieties in order to preserve varieties.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 1:44PM
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I spent the academic year 1977-78 in Jerusalem. In the old city, the Arab merchants all had purple carrots for sale there at that time. I would suppose they would have been an old variety. I don't have any idea how one might get seeds. I thought they tasted pretty good.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 8:47AM
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tease(4 Quebec)

Hi Just got the new Thompson and Morgan seed catalogue and they have the purple dragon carrots seeds page 161 Let me know if you find some somewhere else Bye Tease

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 11:09AM
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One thing I will say about the Purple Carrots, is although I haven't grown them myself, I purchased them once from an organic market & was sorely disappointed with their taste. Or lack thereof. Way too bland for me.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 7:16PM
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foxpawz(7 Virginia)

There is a cosmic purple carrot listed in Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Also an Atomic Red.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 4:58PM
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opabinia51(SW Canada)

I have a seed Catalogue from Aunt Martha's Garden: www.auntmarthasgarden.com

She has listed: Chantenay Red Core, Scarlet Nantes and... that's it for multicoloured or rather non orange coloured carrots.

It says that the Chanteney are nice and sweet and that the Scarlet is sweet and brittle.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 2:57PM
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Miss_Mudcat(SE Indiana z5)

I'm growing a variety this year called Cosmic Purple. I harvested some of them as baby carrots and found them to be very tender and sweet when steamed. Normally, from what I've read and experienced myself, baby carrots are much less sweet in the baby stage than mature carrots. Perhaps the contrary is true of this particular purple carrot. I was very pleased with my first attempt at growing purple carrots.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 5:06PM
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robbins(z5/6 MO)

Grew the Atomic Reds this year - really pretty, though maybe a little tougher than regular carrots. Customers loved them.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 8:21PM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

I got the mixed "rainbow" seed packet from Amishland seeds and honestly germination on these and other (tomatos) was somewhat poor. So be careful if ordering from them. That being said I would love to grow purple (there are also and I'd like to grow.... yellow and "red"). There are a couple red Japanese varieties and quite a few yellow cultivars and now you can find purple ones (like purple dragon) fairly easily. Carrots were originally fyi reddish and purpleish so purple is just a natural color. Purple dragon may be a modern hybrid of an old color. But I doubt its much different from older types. Considering I don't think hybridizing of purple carrots has had much attention. :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 1:45AM
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After doing some research on my own, I feel that the true black carrots are not to be confused with the 'cosmic purple' or 'atomic red' that is popular here. Black carrots are cited as being Turkish, or Spanish, and the Afghani ones are probably similar as well. Here is a link from Turkey showing how black they really are. Not the maroon carrots with orange centres we're used to here in NA!

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:18AM
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So how do we get some seeds for these black carrots?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 6:02PM
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First, Thank you all for your help. I have become interested in the last couple weeks and even contacted Professor Lindsay Brown, who did a study on "purple carrots from Persia". Here is what he said about the carrots he used:

"The carrots we tested in the rat studies (see attached file) were the original carrots, originally from the area that was Persia, but grown in Australia for export to Japan! Apparently, the Japanese market wanted an intense colour, and these carrots certainly are intense in colour, although remarkably mild in taste. The carrots we used were purple the whole way through; many on the market are hybrids with a purple layer on the outside but orange inside. The proper purple carrots are white inside when young, then becoming completely purple as they age. I don't know where you can get the seeds in Japan or even the US but the terms "heirloom varieties" and "purple carrots" should get some hits on Google. The purple carrot juice that we tested came from a local company, Dr Red Nutraceuticals (www.drred.com.au) - we didn't grow the carrots.

The active ingredients are the anthocyanins, the purple colour, rather than the beta-carotene.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes

Lindsay Brown"

If you would like a copy of the study, email me (ohmandd@gmail.com).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 11:45PM
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I've grown the Black Knight carrots with mixed success. Many have a pale white core with a outer color that is more purple than black. A pack of mixed seeds produced carrots looking more like the Cosmic Purple blend.

I've been looking for the Afghan black seeds for years and contacted a few companies overseas without response. Out of the blue I decided to search for these seeds again this year and hit a seller on eBay (and other websites that simply link back to eBay) offering true black carrot seed. I've ordered a small 100-pack and will post my results later this year.

Do a Google search for BLACK CARROT ANATOLIAN and you should find what you are searching for.

On a side note, anyone have tips on increasing pigment production for a darker carrot?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 3:49PM
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I have ordered seeds from this site:


I will let everyone know how they turn out :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Anatolian Heirloom

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 2:54AM
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twintoes(5b Nebraska)

Hi xiejol! I also saw them on e-bay, but was afraid to buy them, as I read where Monsanto evidently patented the Turkish black carrot. I wanted to make sure what I was buying had not been tampered with by the GM giant. I want the real deal. I did find a seller on e-bay that is actually in Turkey - wonder if that is where you got yours, or did you buy from someone in the US? I wanted to buy from the Turkey guy, but wasn't sure if I would actually get them in the mail. Curious about your experience, and of course the outcome of these carrots! :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:34PM
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HotHabaneroLady(7a Central MD)

This is a pretty ancient thread,pm but since it has been revived, I will just mention that Baker Creek has a purple carrot called the Cosmic Purple Carrot. It's purple on the outside but orange on the inside. I am trying it for the first time this year. So this is an idea for any who want a purple carrot.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:14AM
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twintoes(5b Nebraska)

Yes, the purple carrots sold here in the US are all crossed. The ancient carrots are the ones I'm after! I haven't been able to find a seller in the US. Seems they come from the Middle East. I want the one that is purple to the core. (See link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: Anatolian Heirloom Black Carrot

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:23AM
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vegpatch(5 Colo)

I found a site http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/blackcarrot.html that has quite a bit of information including recipes specific to Black Carrots.

The national germ plasm center would likely have the seed and will be easier to obtain if you're still affiliated with an academic institution. www.ars-grin.gov


    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 2:00PM
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Black (deep purple) carrots are grown in East and South of Spain. Other than in the town of Cuevas Bajas, they are next to impossible to find in markets, just grown in farms for personal use. Most of them extremelly rare and very close to extintion. I know of about half a docen varieties in South and East Spain, plus a complex in isolated farms in the mountains over a big area.

Most have a white core, at least one an orange one, being quite long with a good flavor on the mild side (no woody core). These are very edible, not like "Black Turkish".

Getting seed, as for any Spanish heirloom is quite difficult, if not impossible.

There's also a light purple (lavender) carrot from the Valencia region which is available comercially, sold as a red carrot.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:00PM
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I'm considering ordering the Anatolian carrot seeds from Turkey, and was wondering if anyone has any experience with them yet, that they can report?
I have been buying deep purple carrots (nearly black) with a deep purple core at the local farmer's market here, and they are absolutely delicious, with an intense, sweet carrottey flavor and none of the bitterness that sometimes comes with regular carrots! When I went in search of seeds, I quickly discovered that the only ones that are readily available are either not entirely deep purple (mostly lighter purple, often with an orange or white/yellow core, sometimes more reddish), and that the seeds that are deep purple are all F1 hybrids. Which I am trying to avoid.
I also discovered that the purple carrots are the original carrots.
I have yet to ask the people at the farmer's market where they get their seeds from (the carrots are currently out of season), but I expect they are probably hybrids as well. I see packets being sold with a 'rainbow mix' (different colors), which is generally how they are sold at the market too - I just pick out the purple ones, because they are the tastiest!
I've asked the Turkish sellers on Ebay if their seeds are organic, hybrids or open-pollinated, treated in any way... but their English isn't good enough to understand. So I'm considering just taking the plunge... But any prior experiences are welcomed! :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 8:53AM
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Hey guys, do you know where I can get some seeds, I'd love to grow some.. I'm growing veggies nowadays for my family and my baby. ..I want them to eat organic healthy foods..I'm fron Asia, btw

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 1:32PM
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