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Encyclopedia > Achillea millefolium
"Red" Yarrow

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Achillea
Species: A. millefolium
Binomial name
Achillea millefolium

Achillea millefolium or Yarrow (other common names Common Yarrow, Gordaldo, Nosebleed plant, Old Man's Pepper, Sanguinary, Milfoil, Soldier's Woundwort, Thousand-leaf (as its binomial name affirms), Thousand-seal) is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. Yarrow can mean several things: The Yarrow herb. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Plant (disambiguation). ... Classes Magnoliopsida - Dicots Liliopsida - Monocots The flowering plants or angiosperms are the most widespread group of land plants. ... Magnoliopsida is the botanical name for a class of flowering plants. ... Families Alseuosmiaceae Argophyllaceae Asteraceae - Daisies Calyceraceae Campanulaceae (incl. ... Diversity About 1500 genera and 23,000 species Type Genus Aster L. Subfamilies Barnadesioideae Cichorioideae Tribe Arctotidae Tribe Cardueae Tribe Eremothamneae Tribe Lactuceae Tribe Liabeae Tribe Mutisieae Tribe Tarchonantheae Tribe Vernonieae Asteroideae Tribe Anthemideae Tribe Astereae Tribe Calenduleae Tribe Eupatorieae Tribe Gnaphalieae Tribe Helenieae Tribe Heliantheae Tribe Inuleae Tribe Plucheae... Species many, see text Achillea is a genus of about 85 flowering plants, in the family Asteraceae, commonly referred to as yarrow. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Carl Linnaeus, Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 13, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... Classes Magnoliopsida - Dicots Liliopsida - Monocots The flowering plants or angiosperms are the most widespread group of land plants. ... Diversity About 1500 genera and 23,000 species Type Genus Aster L. Subfamilies Barnadesioideae Cichorioideae Tribe Arctotidae Tribe Cardueae Tribe Eremothamneae Tribe Lactuceae Tribe Liabeae Tribe Mutisieae Tribe Tarchonantheae Tribe Vernonieae Asteroideae Tribe Anthemideae Tribe Astereae Tribe Calenduleae Tribe Eupatorieae Tribe Gnaphalieae Tribe Helenieae Tribe Heliantheae Tribe Inuleae Tribe Plucheae... Northern hemisphere highlighted in yellow. ...



Common Yarrow is an erect herbaceous perennial plant that produces one to several stems (0.2 to 1m tall) and has a rhizomatous growth form. Leaves are evenly distributed along the stem, with the leaves near the middle and bottom of the stem being the largest. The leaves have varying degrees of hairiness (pubescence). The leaves are 5-20 cm long, bipinnate or tripinnate, almost feathery, and arranged spirally on the stems. The leaves are cauline and more or less clasping. The inflorescence has 4 to 9 phyllaries and contains ray and disk flowers which are white to pink. There are generally 3 to 8 ray flowers that are ovate to round. Disk flowers range from 15 to 40. The inflorescence is produced in a flat-topped cluster. Yarrow grows up to 3500m above sea level. The plant commonly flowers from May through June, and is a frequent component in butterfly gardens. Common yarrow is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring. This article is about the plants used in cooking and medicine. ... Red Valerian, a perennial plant. ... In botany, a rhizome is a horizontal, usually underground stem of a plant that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. ... Look up foliage in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up Pinnate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Toothed bracts on Rhinanthus minor In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf, from the axil of which a flower or flower stalk arises; or a bract may be any leaf associated with an inflorescence. ... (For the garden hobby, see Butterfly gardening) Butterfly Garden is a computer simulation by independent developer Autonomous Productions, revolving around the raising and collecting of butterflies. ...


Common yarrow is a drought tolerant species of which there are several different ornamental cultivars. Seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than ¼ inch. Seeds also require a temperature of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Common yarrow responds best to soil that is poorly developed and well drained. The plant has a relatively short life, but may be prolonged by dividing the plant every other year, and planting 12 to 18 inches apart. Common yarrow is a weedy species and can become invasive.[1] It may suffer from mildew or root rot if not planted in well-drained soil.

There are several varieties and subspecies: In botanical nomenclature, variety is a rank below that of species: As such, it gets a ternary name (a name in three parts). ... This article is about the zoological term. ...

  • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. millefolium - Europe, Asia
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. alpicola - Rocky Mountains
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. borealis - Arctic regions
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. californica - California
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. occidentalis - North America
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. pacifica - west coast of North America
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. puberula - California
    • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. rubra - Southern Appalachians
  • Achillea millefolium subsp. chitralensis - western Himalaya
  • Achillea millefolium subsp. sudetica - Alps, Carpathians

For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Asia (disambiguation). ... For individual mountains named Rocky Mountain, see Rocky Mountain (disambiguation). ... The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, sometimes used to define the Arctic region border Artificially coloured topographical map of the Arctic region For the ship, see SS Arctic. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... North American redirects here. ... North American redirects here. ... The Appalachian Mountains are a system of North American mountains running from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada to Alabama in the United States, although the northernmost mainland portion ends at the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec. ...

Cultivation and uses

Yarrows can be planted to combat soil erosion due to the plant's resistance to drought. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...

The herb is purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent[2], tonic[2], stimulant and mild aromatic. It contains isovaleric acid, salicylic acid, asparagin, sterols, flavonoids, bitters, tannins, and coumarins. The plant also has a long history as a powerful 'healing herb' used topically for wounds, cuts and abrasions. The genus name Achillea is derived from mythical Greek character, Achilles,[2] who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds. This medicinal action is also reflected in some of the common names mentioned below, such as Staunchweed and Soldier's Woundwort. A diaphoretic is a drug which increases perspiration. ... A bottle of tannic acid, an astringent Astringent medicines cause shrinkage of mucous membranes or exposed tissues and are often used internally to check discharge of blood serum or mucous secretions. ... Stimulants are drugs that temporarily increase alertness and wakefulness. ... An aroma compound, also known as odorant, aroma, fragrance, flavor, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odor. ... 3-Methylbutanoic acid, or more commonly isovaleric acid, is a natural fatty acid found in a wide variety of plants and essential oils. ... Salicylic acid (from the Latin word for the willow tree, Salix, from whose bark it can be obtained) is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) with the formula C6H4(OH)CO2H, where the OH group is adjacent to the carboxyl group. ... Sterols are a subgroup of steroids with a hydroxyl group in the 3-position of the A-ring. ... Flavonoids are a group of chemical compounds naturally found in certain fruits, vegetables, teas, wines, nuts, seeds, and roots. ... bitter An antique (probably 1880s) bitters bottle from Germany that sold for $1240. ... A bottle of tannic acid. ... Coumarin is a chemical compound; a toxin found in many plants, notably in high concentration in the tonka bean, woodruff, and bison grass. ... Species many, see text Achillea is a genus of about 85 flowering plants, in the family Asteraceae, commonly referred to as yarrow. ... For other uses, see Achilles (disambiguation). ...

The stalks of yarrow are dried and used as a randomising agent in I Ching divination. Alternative meaning: I Ching (monk) The I Ching (Traditional Chinese: 易經, pinyin y jīng; Cantonese IPA: jɪk6gɪŋ1; Cantonese Jyutping: jik6ging1; alternative romanizations include I Jing, Yi Ching, Yi King) is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. ...

In the Middle Ages, Yarrow was part of a herbal mixture known as gruit used in the flavouring of beer prior to the use of hops. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Gruit (or sometimes grut) is an old fashioned herb mixture used for bittering and flavoring beer, popular before the extensive use of hops. ... Hop umbel (branched floral structure resembling nested-inverted umbrellas) in a Hallertau hop yard Hops are a flower used primarily as a flavouring and stability agent in beer, as well as in herbal medicine. ...

Old folk names for Yarrow include arrowroot, bad man's plaything, carpenter's weed, death flower, devil's nettle, eerie, field hops, gearwe, hundred leaved grass, knight's milefoil, knyghten, milefolium, milfoil, millefoil, noble yarrow, nosebleed, old man's mustard, old man's pepper, sanguinary, seven year's love, snake's grass, soldier, soldier's woundwort, stanch weed, thousand seal, woundwort, yarroway, yerw.

The English name Yarrow comes from the Saxon and Dutch words 'Gearwe' and 'Yerw' respectively.

Yarrow has also been used as a food, and was very popular as a vegetable in the 17th century. The younger leaves are said to be a pleasant leaf vegetable when cooked as spinach, or in a soup. Yarrow is sweet with a slight bitter taste. Fresh Swiss chard Fresh water spinach Creamed spinach Steamed kale Leaf vegetables, also called potherbs, greens, or leafy greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. ...

The casting of yarrow is the traditional way of performing I Ching divination. Among the many forms of divination is a method using the I Ching (易經) or Book of Changes. ...

Herbal medicine

Yarrow has seen historical use as a medicine, mainly because of its astringent effects. Decoctions have been used to treat inflammations such as piles (hemorrhoids), and also headaches. Confusingly, it has been said to both stop bleeding and promote it. Infusions of Yarrow, taken either internally or externally, are said to speed recovery from severe bruising. The most medicinally active part of the plant are the flowering tops. They also have a mild stimulant effect, and have been used as a snuff. Today, yarrow is valued mainly for its action in colds and influenza, and also for its effect on the circulatory, digestive, and urinary systems. Hemorrhoids (also haemorrhoids or piles) are varicosities or swelling and inflammation of veins in the rectum and anus. ... Flu redirects here. ...

The flowers, rich in chemicals are converted by steam into anti-allergenic compounds. The flowers are used for various allergic mucus problems, including hay fever. Harvest during summer and autumn. Drink the infused flower for upper respiratory phlegm or use externally as a wash for eczema. Inhale for hay fever and mild asthma, use fresh in boiling water. For the play, see Hay Fever. ... For the beetle, see Exema. ...

The dark blue essential oil, extracted by steam distillation of the flowers, is generally used as an anti-inflammatory or in chest rubs for colds and influenza. Massage oil for inflamed joints, dilute 5-10 drops yarrow oil in 25 ml infused St. John's wort oil. A chest rub can be made for chesty colds and influenza, combine with eucalyptus, peppermint, hyssop, or thyme oils, diluting a total of 20 drops of oil in 25 ml almond or sunflower oil. An essential oil is a concentrated, hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aromatic compounds from plants. ... Laboratory distillation set-up: 1: Heat source 2: Still pot 3: Still head 4: Thermometer/Boiling point temperature 5: Condenser 6: Cooling water in 7: Cooling water out 8: Distillate/receiving flask 9: Vacuum/gas inlet 10: Still receiver 11: Heat control 12: Stirrer speed control 13: Stirrer/heat plate... Binomial name Hypericum perforatum Linnaeus, St Johns wort used alone refers to the species Hypericum perforatum, also known as Klamath weed or Goat weed, but is used with qualifiers to refer to any species of the genus Hypericum. ... This article is about the plant genus. ... Binomial name Mentha × piperita L. Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is a (usually) sterile hybrid mint, a cross between watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). ... Species See text Hyssop (Hyssopus) is a genus of about 10-12 species of herbaceous or semi-woody plants in the family Lamiaceae, native from the Mediterranean east to central Asia. ... Species About 350 species, including: Thymus adamovicii Thymus altaicus Thymus amurensis Thymus bracteosus Thymus broussonetii Thymus caespititius Thymus camphoratus Thymus capitatus Thymus capitellatus Thymus camphoratus Thymus carnosus Thymus cephalotus Thymus cherlerioides Thymus ciliatus Thymus cilicicus Thymus cimicinus Thymus comosus Thymus comptus Thymus curtus Thymus disjunctus Thymus doerfleri Thymus glabrescens Thymus... For other uses, see Almond (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Sunflower (disambiguation). ...

The leaves encourage clotting, so it can be used fresh for nosebleeds. However, inserting a leaf in the nostril may also start a nosebleed; this was once done to relieve migraines. Harvest throughout the growing season.

The aerial parts are used for phlegm conditions, as a bitter digestive tonic to encourage bile flow, and as a diuretic. The aerial parts act as a tonic for the blood, stimulate the circulation, and can be used for high blood pressure. Also useful in menstrual disorders, and as an effective sweating remedy to bring down fevers. Harvest during flowering. The tincture is used for urinary disorders or menstrual problems. Prescribed for cardiovascular complaints. Soak a pad in an infusion or dilute tincture to soothe varicose veins. This illustration shows where some types of diuretics act, and what they do. ... In medicine, a tincture is an alcoholic extract (e. ...

Yarrow intensifies the medicinal action of other herbs taken with it, and helps eliminate toxins from the body. It is reported to be associated with the treatment of the following ailments:

Amenorrhea, anti-inflammatory, bowels, bleeding, blood clots, blood pressure (lowers), blood purifier, blood vessels (tones), Catarrh (acute, repertory), colds, chicken pox, circulation, contraceptive (unproven), cystitis, diabetes treatment, digestion (stimulates), dyspepsia, eczema, fevers, flu's, gastritis, glandular system, gum ailments, Heartbeat (slow), influenza, insect repellant, internal bleeding, liver (stimulates and regulates), lungs (hemorrhage), measles, menses (suppressed), menorrhagia, Menstruation (regulates, relieves pain), Nipples (soreness), nosebleeds, piles (bleeding), smallpox, stomach sickness, toothache, thrombosis, ulcers, urinary antiseptic, Uterus (tighten and contract), varicose veins, vision.

The salicylic acid derivatives are a component of aspirin, which may account for its use in treating fevers and reducing pain. Yarrow tea is also said to be able to clear up a cold within 24 hours.

Companion planting

Yarrow is considered an especially useful companion plant, not only repelling some bad insects while attracting good, predatory ones, but also improving soil quality. It attracts predatory wasps, which drink the nectar and then use insect pests as food for their larvae. Similarly, it attracts ladybugs and hoverflies. Its leaves are thought to be good fertilizer, and a beneficial additive for compost. Companion planting in gardening and agriculture is planting of different crops in close physical proximity. ... Subfamilies Chilocorinae Coccidulinae Coccinellinae Epilachninae Scymininae Sticholotidinae etc. ... Subfamilies Eristalinae Microdontinae Syrphinae 200 genera about 6,000 species For the helicopter see: Sikorsky R-4 Flies in the Diptera family Syrphidae are commonly known as hoverflies, flower flies, or Syrphid flies. ...

It is also considered directly beneficial to other plants, improving the health of sick plants when grown near them.

Use by nonhuman species

Several cavity-nesting birds, including the common starling, use yarrow to line their nests. Experiments conducted on the tree swallow, which does not use yarrow, suggest that adding yarrow to nests inhibits the growth of parasites.[3] Binomial name Sturnus vulgaris Linnaeus, 1758 The Common Starling or European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, is a passerine bird in the family Sturnidae. ... Binomial name Tachycineta bicolor (Vieillot, 1808) The Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor, is a migratory passerine bird that breeds in North America and winters in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. ... A parasite is an organism that lives in or on the living tissue of a host organism at the expense of it. ...


In rare cases, yarrow can cause severe allergic skin rashes; prolonged use can increase the skin's photosensitivity.[citation needed]

In one study alcohol extracts of yarrow impaired the sperm production of laboratory rats.[4]


  • The most authentic way to cast the Yi Jing uses dried yarrow stalks. The stems are said to be good for divining the future.
  • In China, it is said that it grows around the grave of Confucius.
  • Chinese proverbs claim that yarrow brightens the eyes and promotes intelligence.
  • In the 1500s, the British herbalist John Gerard recommended it for relieving "swelling of those secret parts."
  • Some people believed that you could determine the devotion of a lover by poking a yarrow leaf up your nostril and twitching the leaf while saying, "Yarroway, Yarroway, bear a white blow: if my love loves me, my nose will bleed now." (Yarrow is a nasal irritant, and generally causes the nose to bleed if inserted).
  • Homer tells us that the centaur Chiron, who conveyed herbal secrets to his human pupils, taught Achilles to use yarrow on the battle grounds of Troy.[5] Achilles is said to have used it to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers. For centuries it has been carried in battle because of its magical as well as medicinal properties.
  • Yarrow grows native in the orient. Oriental tradition assured mountain wanderers that where the yarrow grew neither tigers nor wolves nor poisonous plants would be found.
  • Nursery rhymes say if you put a yarrow sachet under your pillow, you will dream of your own true love. If you dream of cabbages (the leaves do have a similar scent), then death or other serious misfortune will strike.
  • Yarrow was one of the herbs put in Saxon amulets. These amulets were for protection from everything from blindness, to barking dogs.
  • In the Middle Ages, witches were said to use yarrow to make incantations. This may be the source for the common names devil's nettle, devils plaything, and bad man's plaything.
  • Western European tradition connects yarrow with a goddess and a demon. Yarrow was a witching herb, used to summon the devil or drive him away. But it was also a loving herb in the domain of Aphrodite.
  • Hang a bunch of dried yarrow or yarrow that had been used in wedding decorations over the bed, to ensure a lasting love for at least seven years.
  • Shakers used yarrow for complaints from haemorrhages to flatulence
  • Navajo Indians consider it to be a "life medicine", and chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches.
  • Several tribes of the Plains region of the United States used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves for headaches by inhaling it in a steam. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep.
  • During the excavation of a 40,000-60,000 year old neanderthal tomb, pollen from yarrow (among other herbs) was found.
  • It has been used as a Quinine substitute
  • Yarrow and tortoiseshell are considered to be lucky in Chinese superstitions.[6]

Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Prose is writing distinguished from poetry by its greater variety of rhythm and its closer resemblance to everyday speech. ...


Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1149x1501, 311 KB) Achillea millefolium File links The following pages link to this file: Yarrow ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1191x1164, 651 KB) Achillea millefolium Pictures from Longwood Gardens taken by User:Raul654 On May 1, 2005. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1690x1267, 659 KB)Unidentified variety of red yarrow. ...

See also

This is a list of companion plant relationships. ...


  1. ^ USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 22 May 2006). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.[1]
  2. ^ a b c Alma R. Hutchens (1973). Indian Herbology of North America. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-639-1. 
  3. ^ [2] Dave Shutler, Adam A. Campbell "Experimental addition of greenery reduces flea loads in nests of a non-greenery using species, the tree swallow Tachycineta bicolor" Journal of Avian Biology, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 7–12 (2007)
  4. ^ Dalsenter P, Cavalcanti A, Andrade A, Araújo S, Marques M (2004). "Reproductive evaluation of aqueous crude extract of Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae) in Wistar rats.". Reprod Toxicol 18 (6): 819-23. PMID 15279880. 
  5. ^ Homer. Iliad, 11.828 - 11.832. 
  6. ^ Chinese Superstitions
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Wikiversity has bloom time data for Achillea millefolium on the Bloom Clock

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Other references

Hickman, James C., Ed. The Jepson Manual: Higher plants of California. 1993. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London.

External links

  • Achillea millefolium (Dr. Duke's Databases)

  Results from FactBites:
Achillea millefolium (3256 words)
Polyunsaturated alkamides from Achillea, Echinacea angustifolia, Anacyclus pyrethrum, and Aaronsohnia pubescens inhibit cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase in vitro Muller-Jakic 1994
Chemo-typing by GC/MS of Tanacetum vulgare, Tagetes, Achillea, Borago, Lappula, Aquilegia, Limnanthes, Delphinium and Tropaeolum Hethelyi 1987
Achillea lanulosa has complex, highly dissected leaves that vary in shape and size along an altitudinal gradient which are result of both genetic divergence among populations and of acclimative responses to local environments.
  More results at FactBites »



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