Thursday, May 27, 2010

What's Blooming Now...Achillea millefolium...

I want to share with you another plant from my garden.  This is a plant that I use to not think too much of.  It use to remind me of weeds that I use to have to pull up when I was kid!  But the newer cultivars that have come out are great additions to any garden.

The plant is Yarrow or Achillea millefolium.  Yarrow is a herbaceous perennial that is drought tolerant.  Common yarrow responds best to soil that is poorly developed and well drained.  If your soil does not drain well, then your Yarrow will have an increased chance of developing mildew.

Yarrow can get weedy.  So it is best to divide your plants every couple of years.  Dividing will also help prolong the Yarrow's short life span.

Yarrow is a plant with an old and interesting past. 

It 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, 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.

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.  Yarrow has also been used as a food, and was very popular as a vegetable in the seventeenth 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. The leaves can also be dried and used as a herb in cooking.

Yarrow was also used in traditional Native American herbal medicine. Navajo Indians considered it to be a "life medicine", chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches.  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.

I personally like the way the foliage contrasts with the other plantings that are around it in both color and shape.  The blooms are great for drying and using in flower arrangements.

Yarrow is an interesting perennial to try in your garden.

Send your pictures if you have Yarrow growing in your garden!

Have fun playing in the dirt.....


  1. I don't have any Yarrow but you've peaked my interest and will look for the seeds or plants. Thanks for sharing a great history...come visit when you can...

  2. Wow, I had no idea how many purposes that flower has. Thanks for the interesting facts..

  3. I enjoyed visiting your blog. Very insightful! Hopefully, mine will be an encouragement to you.
    God Bless, Bob West

  4. That is so interesting. You're so knowledgeable. I love gardening, though these days I do so very little of it. Maybe when the kids are a little older. Old enough to know NOT to eat dirt : )


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