Steganotaenia araliacea is a small, aromatic, deciduous tree that grows to a height of 2 – 7 m. When the leaves are crushed, it produces a carrot-like aroma, hence the common name of Carrot tree.
This is an ornamental tree with interesting bark and flowers that appear before the new leaves. The main stem of the Carrot tree is upright and can be straight or crooked with noticeably thick twigs and branches. Yellow green to grey bark peels of in papery strips or rectangles and becomes rough and cracking in older trees.
The drooping leaves are borne on the ends of the branches and are spirally arranged with heavily toothed leaflets. The smooth textured foliage is a bright, glossy green and slightly paler underneath and turning golden yellow in autumn. Small, pale yellow to greenish white flowers appear from July to October in rounded clusters before new leaves are visible. Fruit are produced in messy clusters from October to November and are heart-shaped, splitting in two to release seeds.
The Carrot tree is an exceptionally drought resistant tree, but will also tolerate high rainfall areas where the soil drainage is good. This is a wonderful specimen plant for hot, dry gardens and will provide visual variety throughout the year with its unusual bark, dainty flowers, interesting fruit and delicate foliage.