Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Aster family (Asteraceae) | Wildflowers and Herbs plant group | Also known as European yarrow, Milfoil
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Common yarrow is a perennial herb with many small, white flower heads arranged in flat-topped clusters at the tips of stems. The leaves are fern-like with many small divisions.

Identification Hints

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.

Did You Know?

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.

The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem, with varying degrees of hairiness. Blades are finely dissected but lance-shaped in outline (fern-like), approximately 0.20 to 1.18 in (0.5 to 3 cm) wide by 1.18 to 5.91 in (3 to 15 cm) long.
Many small whitish to yellowish-white flower heads (occasionally pinkish) arranged in flat topped clusters at tip of stems. Each flower head: 3 to 8 ray flowers (appear as ‘petals’) surround 15 to 40 tiny disk flowers. Approximately 10 to 20 flower heads make up one flower cluster.
Tiny brown flattened achene (nutlet-like), oblong in shape, 0.08 in (2 mm) long. Fruits form quickly after flowers wither.
Distributed widely throughout temperate areas in the northern hemisphere. Found in dry, disturbed areas up to the alpine zone (including grasslands, sagebrush, meadows, and alpine tundra).
Bloom Time
May to September.
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