Carrot Floral Development and Reproductive Biology
The defining characteristic of the botanical family of Apiaceae (former Umbelliferae) is the inflorescence. The flowers aggregate in terminal umbels that may be commonly compound, often umbelliform cymes. Likewise, flowers of the carrot are clustered in flat, dense umbels, partially with zygomorphic petals at the edges. Carrot producers and consumers mainly consider the vegetative phase, namely the storage root as a vegetable. Nevertheless, the reproductive phase is an important topic for genetic research, for breeding new cultivars and for seed production. Hence, improved knowledge on the genetic control mechanisms of reproduction such as flowering time, flower development and architecture, pollen fertility and male sterility, as well as seed set is of essential importance. The chapter reviews key steps on carrot floral development and reproductive biology, especially under consideration of the comprehensive genomic data set recently obtained from carrot.