William of Orange

That’s what I was told in Rosatos last night by Ryan O’Dochertaigh who is one half of Bulrush, the duo who played in Rosatos last night. He said that they used to be purple. Neither the other half of the duo, Kevin Brown, nor myself believed him.

“Look it up” he said.

I’ve just done so.

The Colour Purple

He was correct in terms of the colour. It seems that carrots did use to be purple. There were yellow and red varieties too but purple was the main colour. The Romans thought of it as an aphrodisiac.

So, was he correct then that they were changed to orange as a tribute to William of Orange?


Orange Carrots

Here’s what I found online:-

“So our popular orange carrot of today, isn’t even one of the original, natural colour. Actually it is the product of cross breeding the red and yellow carrots.

“In the 17th century some Dutch farmers succeeded in growing the first orange carrots in honour of the House of Orange. It is this colour carrot, which is most widespread today”.

King Billy

As we all know, William of Orange was around in 1690 but the report doesn’t specifically say that it was a tribute to him – but it may have been.

We can say that Ryan was correct when he said that carrots used to be purple.

I think, as the orange carrot evolved  as a tribute to the House of Orange in the Netherlands, I think we can say that Ryan was pretty close to correct.


I must say that I was pretty surprised. I expected to find, when I looked it up, that it was nonsense.

It is, at least, pretty close to being correct.

Don’t tell Celtic supporters, though. You wouldn’t want them boycotting carrots and leaving them on the side of their plates at restaurants.

Don’t tell Rangers supporters either, though, or you might find them throwing them on the field at future Old Firm games or munching them on Orange Parades.

By the way, did you know that the children’s rhyme “Wee Willie Winkie” was composed as a dig at William of Orange by the citizens of Edinburgh?