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Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society

Focusing on native plants and conservation in North Idaho


Species profile by Wendy Aeschliman

Common Name(s): Yarrow, Common Yarrow   

Family: Asteraceae

Scientific Name:  Achillea millefolium.
Achillea comes from the legend that Achilles discovered its healing properties and used it to treat the wounds of his soldiers at the siege of Troy. Millefolium means "thousand-leaved".

Plant Symbol: ACMI2

General Info: Perennial forb, aromatic, deciduous, usually with fibrous underground rhizomes. 10 to 100 cm tall (4 to 39 in).

Native/ Non-native:  Generally considered native, however many A millefoliums are naturalized from Eurasian origins, having been introduced for medicinal properties.

Ecology:  Widespread and common in low to subalpine elevations mostly in warm and drier sites, invading disturbed sites as well.

Range: Throughout the United States.

Leaves: Fernlike, lacy, slender, pinnately dissected. Varying degrees of hairiness.

Flowers: White, though sometimes pink.  Heads in flat to round topped clusters. The composite heads usually have 5 ray flowers. Blooms April to October.

Fruits/ Seeds:  Compressed, flattened achene.

Enemies: Fire, though moderately resistant.

Notes: Dried flowers, seeds, and leaves used for tea.  Used in a variety of herbal remedies.

Landscaping:  Useful and lovely in wildflower gardens; divide every other year to extend its life, and plant a foot apart.  May suffer from mildew or root rot if not in well-drained soil.  Seeds need light and should be planted near the surface.  Drought tolerant. Prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. Use in the landscape in orchards, butterfly gardens, containers, mixed borders.... Deer generally avoid the aromatic yarrow!

Uses:  Can use in fresh arrangements. Makes attractive dried flowers if cut before the sun bleaches them. To dry the flowers, cut them at their peak before they start to fade and hang clusters head-down in a dry, airy place out of the sun.

Resources/ Links:

Field Guide to Forest Plants of Northern Idaho (Patterson, Neiman, Tonn), 1985 USDA – Forest Service

Plants of Southern Interior British Colombia and the Inland Northwest (Parish, Coupe, Lloyd), 1996

Above:  Yarrow Leaves and Flowers



Photo by Wendy Aeschliman