Achillea millefolium
(Common Yarrow)

Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Family Description: Aster (Sunflower)

Key Characteristics:
Aromatic, rhizomatous, perennial herbs.
  • alternate, pinnately dissected
  • blade 3-15 cm long, up to 2.5 cm wide
  • corymbiform inflorescence
  • heads numerous, small, disc 2-4 mm wide
  • involucre 4-5 mm high
  • rays about 5, white (occasionally pink)2-3 mm long
  • 10-30 disc flowers
  • achene

General Description:
This perennial 1-3 feet tall, European plant has fern-like leaves which are stalked near the base, but sessile higher on the stem. It is easily recognized by its odor when crushed. The white flowersare arranged in flat-topped corymbs. Actually what appears to be a flower is a small head of two kinds of flowers. The ones in the center of each head are symmetrical disc flowers, while the outer ray flowers are white. The above ground stems are attached to underground, reddish rhizomes.

Introduced from Eurasia. One variety, lanulosa Nutt. is native to the U. S.

Disturbed areas which have partially recovered such as older roadsides, grazed meadows, etc.

Common Yarrow has many uses and is said to contain more than 120 compounds including achilleine, coumarin, cyanidin, azulene, thujone (which is considered to be toxic) & salicylic acid. Achilleine is said to stop bleeding and may suppress menstruation. Tea made from the leaves can be used as a douche, relieve heavy menstruation, a tonic for the heart and circulatory system, lowering blood pressure, slowing heart beat, as a diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory and to counteract infection. Native Americans also used dried, powered leaves to stop bleeding and to put on bruises, burns, earaches and arrow wounds. In an emergency, the leaves can be chewed and put on bleeding wounds. More recent use is dry the leaves and smoke it for a mild euphoric effect.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002