Common yarrow is a drought tolerant species that occurs throughout the United States. It is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests. There are several ornamental cultivars of common yarrow.
The species name, millefolium, comes from the French terms "mille", which means 1,000, and "feuille", leaf, a reference to the plant's numerous leaf segments. The genus Achillea comes from the Greek god, Achilles. Achilles is told in stories to have saved the lives of many of his soldiers by applying yarrow to their wounds to stop bleeding during combat. Interestingly, several tribes of the Plains region of the United States also traditionally used yarrow for medicinal purposes: pain relief, reduce fever, and as a sleep aid.