Common Name: Yarrow
- English Mace/Sweet Yarrow (Achillea argeratum): Zone 7, edible leaves (fair), tea from leaves
- Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Zone 2, edible leaves (pretty good), most common species used for food and medicine… the rest of this article is basically about this species; however, they all share very similar characterstics
- Sneezeweed/White Tansy Yarrow (Achillea ptarmica): Zone 5, edible leaves (fair)
- Siberian Yarrow (Achillea sibirica): Zone 6, edible leaves (fair)
- The genus (Achillea) is named after the Greek mythological character Achilles whose soldiers used yarrow to staunch their wounds.
- Other names for Common Yarrow was herbal militaris, staunchweed, soldier’s woundwort, knight’s milefoil, carpenter’s weed, nosebleed weed, and many more… a plant used to stop bleeding at home, in the shop, or on the battlefield.
- Dried, ground leaves from Sneezeweed/White Tansy Yarrow (Achillea ptarmica) is used as a sneezing powder.
- Some species are considered poisonous to sheep, cattle, and horses.
- Common Yarrow was part of the classic Gruit recipe for preserving ales before the widespread use of hops.
Leaves – raw or cooked. The young, tender leaves are much more palatable and are a great addition to a mixed greens salad. Cooked leaves are also good, with a sweet and bitter flavor combined – a good spinach substitute
Decorative plant – flowers
- General insect (especially bees) nectar plant – Plant for beneficial insects
- Shelter plant for beneficial insects (bettles, lacewings, parasitic wasps, spiders)
- Lacewings prefer to lay eggs on this plant
- Aromatic Pest Confuser
- Pioneer Species
- Drought Tolerant Species
- Maritime Tolerant Species
- Groundcover (space plants 6-18 inches apart), quite tolerant of foot traffic
- Dynamic Accumulator (Potassium, Phosphorus, Copper)
- Liquid Plant Feed – soak leaves in water for a few weeks, dilute with water, apply to plants
- Dye (yellow and green) from flowers
- Aromatic oils from seeds used as fragrance
- Flavoring/preserving component to beers – Part of the traditional herbal mixture, Gruit (sweet gale, mugwort, ground ivy, horehound, heather, and yarrow, plus additional local herbs), much more common before the widespread use of hops
- Tea Plant – leaves and flowers
- Traditional medicial plant
GROWING CONDITIONS FOR THIS PLANT
Easily divided in Spring or Autumn. Will also easily root from cuttings 4+ inches (10 cm). Seeds planted at almost anytime other than cold Winters, germinate in 4-13 weeks.
Minimal. May need to work to keep in bounds.
- Spreading habit – the roots are quite vigorous and can send up/out shoots extensively. Be sure to plant in an area where this is tolerable.
Poisonous (?) – Some people will develop an allergic rash, develop photosensitivity (skin becomes sensitive to sunlight), or can develop gastrointestinal discomfort when eating this plant or even coming into contact with it. I recommend sampling small amounts of this plant to determine personal tolerance first; if you can handle it, then enjoy!