dcsimg

Biology

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Yarrow is a perennial herb that can spread both by seed and by means of creeping stems, known as stolons (2). The flowers, which are present from June to September (7) are visited by a huge range of insects (2). The whole plant has a strongly aromatic scent (2). Yarrow was once held in high esteem as a medicinal plant, and has been used to staunch wounds and to ward off illness and bad luck (6). Conversely it was believed to be one of the Devil's herbs, and was used in divination (4). It was also said to cause nosebleeds if a leaf was put into the nostril, and the plant was known as 'nosebleed' in some areas (4). In East Anglia, this property of the plant was employed in order to divine future love; a leaf was placed inside the nose and the following rhyme was recited: 'Yarroway, yarroway, bear a white blow, if my love love me, my nose will bleed now' (4). The leaves and flowers have a bitter, astringent and pungent taste; the alternative common name 'old man's pepper' refers to this quality (7).
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Conservation

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Conservation action is not required for this very common species.
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Description

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Yarrow is a common herb that has been highly regarded for its medicinal properties in Britain since Anglo-Saxon times (4). The erect stems are woolly and the dense, flattened flower-heads are typically white, but more rarely they may be pink or reddish (2). The leaves are deeply divided, forming many small lobes (5); this feature is referred to by the specific Latin name, millefolium, which means 'thousand leaf' (6). The name of the genus, Achillea is thought to have arisen as it is said that Achilles used this herb to treat the wounds of his soldiers. The common name 'yarrow' derives from the Anglo-Saxon name for the plant, 'gearwe' (7).
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Habitat

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Grows in most types of grassland habitat, including coastal sand dunes, lawns, road verges, waste ground and montane grasslands. It grows in all types of soil, save for the most nutrient poor, and is drought tolerant (3).
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Range

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This very common plant occurs throughout the British Isles (5). Elsewhere it is found in Europe and western Asia, and has been introduced to North America, Australia and New Zealand (2).
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Status

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Common and widespread: not threatened (3).
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Threats

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This species is not threatened.
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Comments

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Achillea millefolium is morphologically variable and has been treated as either a single species with varieties or as multiple distinct species. At least 58 names have been used for North American specimens. Some early workers (e.g., J. Clausen et al. 1948) thought the native North American plants were taxonomically distinguishable from introduced, Old World plants. Other workers (e.g., R. J. Tyrl 1975) have treated A. millefolium as a cosmopolitan, Northern Hemisphere polyploid complex of native and introduced plants that have hybridized, forming diploid, tetraploid, pentaploid, hexaploid, septaploid, and octoploid plants and/or populations constituting a single, variable species.

Morphologic characters that have been used to segregate these populations into species and/or varieties include: (1) degree and persistence of tomentum; (2) phyllaries with greenish, light brown, or dark brown margins; (3) shapes of capitulescences (rounded or flat-topped); and (4) degrees of leaf dissection and shapes of lobes.

While examining specimens for this treatment, two general trends were noted: (1) Plants growing either at high latitudes or high elevations tend to have darker colored margins on the phyllaries. (2) Plants at high latitudes or elevations or from extreme desert locations tend to be more densely lanate than plants from less extreme habitats. These are only trends; variations in local populations due to local environmental conditions are to be expected.

An eco-morphotype adapted to the Athabasca sand dunes of northern Saskatchewan has been known as A. megacephala or A. millefolium var. megacephala and has been treated as a taxon of special concern in Canada (V. L. Harms 1999).

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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 19: 491, 492, 493 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

provided by eFloras
Perennials, 6–65+ cm (usually rhizomatous, sometimes stoloniferous). Stems 1(–4), erect, simple or branched, densely lanate-tomentose to glabrate. Leaves petiolate (proximally) or sessile (distally, weakly clasping and gradually reduced); blades oblong or lanceolate, 3.5–35+ cm × 5–35 mm, 1–2-pinnately lobed (ultimate lobes ± lanceolate, often arrayed in multiple planes), faces glabrate to sparsely tomentose or densely lanate. Heads 10–100+, in simple or compound, corymbiform arrays. Phyllaries 20–30 in ± 3 series, (light green, midribs dark green to yellowish, margins green to light or dark brown) ovate to lanceolate, abaxial faces tomentose. Receptacles convex; paleae lanceolate, 1.5–4 mm. Ray florets (3–)5–8, pistillate, fertile; corollas white or light pink to deep purple, laminae 1.5–3 × 1.5–3 mm. Disc florets 10–20; corollas white to grayish white, 2–4.5 mm. Cypselae 1–2 mm (margins broadly winged). 2n = 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72 (including counts from Europe).
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bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 19: 491, 492, 493 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

provided by eFloras
Erect, up to 1 m tall, basally woody shrublet with obtuse-angled, punctate-glandulose, woolly pilose twigs. Leaves long-petiolate, green, homomorphic, cauline akin to basal, laxly to densely long soft hairy, linear-lanceolate to oblong, up to 20 x 1 – 4 cm, smaller above, punctate-glandulose, 2–3-pinnatisect, rachis 0.4 – 1.5 mm wide; primary segments numerous, linear to linear-lanceolate; ultimate segments narrowly linear filiform, 0.2 – 0.5 (-1) mm wide, cartilaginous mucronate. Capitula 5 – 6 mm across, up to 150 or sometimes more, on 2 – 5 mm long peduncles, in 5 – 15 cm broad compound corymbs. Involucre oblong to ovoid, 4.5 – 5 x 2.5 – 4 mm, basally rotundate, phyllaries oblong to lanceolate, ± acute to obtuse and laciniate, rarely carinate, pink to brownish scarious on margins. Paleae whitish membranous, with green midrib, lanceolate, obtuse and ± fimbriate, upwards pilose. Ray-florets 4 – 6, with whitish or pale-white, 3-lobed, 1.5 – 2.5 x 1.5 – 3 mm, reflexed limb. Disc-florets 10 – 20, with 2 – 3 mm long, 5-toothed corolla tube. Cypselas oblong, ± flattened, c. 2.5 mm long, glaucous-glabrous, epappose.
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Flora of Pakistan Vol. 207: 42 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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S. I. Ali & M. Qaiser
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Synonym

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Achillea alpicola (Rydberg) Rydberg; A. arenicola A. Heller; A. borealis Bongard subsp. arenicola (A. Heller) D. D. Keck; A. borealis subsp. californica (Pollard) D. D. Keck; A. californica Pollard; A. gigantea Pollard; A. lanulosa Nuttall; A. lanulosa subsp. alpicola (Rydberg) D. D. Keck; A. laxiflora Pollard & Cockerell; A. megacephala Raup; A. millefolium var. alpicola (Rydberg) Garrett; A. millefolium var. arenicola (A. Heller) Nobs; A. millefolium var. asplenifolia (Ventenat) Farwell; A. millefolium subsp. borealis (Bongard) Breitung; A. millefolium var. borealis (Bongard) Farwell; A. millefolium var. californica (Pollard) Jepson; A. millefolium var. gigantea (Pollard) Nobs; A. millefolium subsp. lanulosa (Nuttall) Piper; A. millefolium var. lanulosa (Nuttall) Piper; A. millefolium var. litoralis Ehrendorfer ex Nobs; A. millefolium var. maritima Jepson; A. millefolium var. megacephala (Raup) B. Boivin; A. millefolium var. nigrescens E. Meyer; A. millefolium var. occidentalis de Candolle; A. millefolium var. pacifica (Rydberg) G. N. Jones; A. millefolium var. puberula (Rydberg) Nobs; A. nigrescens (E. Meyer) Rydberg; A. occidentalis (de Candolle) Rafinesque ex Rydberg; A. pacifica Rydberg; A. puberula Rydberg; A. rosea Desfontaines; A. subalpina Greene
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Flora of North America Vol. 19: 491, 492, 493 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: competition, cover, density, fire use, frequency, grassland, mixed-severity fire, prescribed fire, restoration, rhizome, severity, shrub, tree, wildfire, woodland

The initial surge of common yarrow is probably caused by
extensive rhizome sprouting; mineral soil exposure and the
resulting favorable seedbed; less competition from tree,
grass and shrub cover; and nutrient release [28,53].

A burn was conducted each April for at least 24 years on a
rough fescue (Festuca scabrella) grassland in a
quaking aspen parkland in east-central Alberta. Average
frequency and canopy cover for common yarrow were as
follows [3]:



%
Frequency              
%
Cover              

burned 
unburned         burned  
unburned

36        
23                  
3.0         1.1

Density and crown area of common yarrow
(per 180,000 in2)following an August wildfire
of moderate severity in a northeastern California range
dominated by bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata)
and various perennial bunchgrasses were as follows [23]:



                            
Number of plants     Crown area (in2)

Unburned plots     
99                            
153

postfire yr
1            
3                             
29

postfire yr
2            
9                           
101

postfire yr 3          
88                           
531

postfire yr 4         
269                          
252

postfire yr 5           
48                        
1391

Productivity values (kg/ha) of common yarrow before and after
a late August fire in western Wyoming quaking aspen communities
are listed below for plots of different burn intensities [9]:



Before burning:  14 kg/ha 

After a "light" burn:  40 kg/ha 

After a "moderate" burn:  16 kg/ha 

After a "heavy" burn:  14 kg/ha

On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, common yarrow cover
and frequency were higher on sites that had been burned 4 years previously than on thinned,
thinned-and-burned, or control sites. Common yarrow was determined to be
an indicator species for burned sites (P≤0.05). For further information on the effects of thinning and burning
treatments on common yarrow and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary
of Youngblood and others' [50] study.


For further information on prescribed fire use and common yarrow response to fire, see Fire Case Studies,
Lyon's Research Paper
(Lyon 1966),
Hamilton's Research Paper
(Hamilton 2006b),
and the following Research Project Summaries:



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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Common Names

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
common yarrow

western yarrow

wooly yarrow
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Conservation Status

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Boreal yarrow is state-listed as a species of special concern in Maine [48].
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Cover Value

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: cover

The degree to which yarrow provides cover for wildlife has
been rated as follows [27]:

                                 CO     MT      ND      UT     WY
Pronghorn                  ----    ----      fair       poor   poor
Elk                             ----    ----      ----     poor   poor
Mule deer                   ----    ----      fair      poor   poor
Small mammals           good    poor    ----    fair     poor
Small nongame birds   good    poor    fair     fair     poor
Upland game birds      ----    poor     ----    fair     poor
Waterfowl                  ----    ----      ----     poor  poor
White-tailed deer        ----    ----      fair     ----    poor
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Description

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: duff, forb, forest

Common yarrow is a perennial forb 11 to 40 inches (30-100 cm) in height with extensive rhizomes. It has few to numerous erect stems. The basal rosette of leaves may remain green throughout the winter [43]. Plants grow in a somewhat scattered fashion and seldom form pure stands in areas larger than 5 square meters [69]. Typical European Achillea millefolium is hexaploid with flat leaves. Native forms are mostly tetraploid, with narrow leaf-segments disposed in various planes so that the leaf is 3-dimensional [33].

McLean [49] reported that in a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest zone in British Columbia, the fibrous roots and rhizomes of yarrow grew mostly in the duff layer or between it and the mineral soil.

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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Distribution

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: adventitious

Common yarrow is circumboreal. In North America, it occurs in every state, province, and in Mexico [19,33]. It is adventitious in Hawaii [62].
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Fire Ecology

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: fire interval, rhizome

The life cycle of common yarrow in grasslands is completed by the onset of the summer drought and fire season in July [6]. Following fire, regeneration is from rapid rhizome spread [72] and wind dispersal of seeds onto burned sites from adjacent unburned areas [41].

Common yarrow occurs in plant communities with a variety of FIRE REGIMES. The range of fire intervals reported for some species that dominate communities where common yarrow occurs are listed below. To learn more about the FIRE REGIMES in these communities, refer to the FEIS summary for that species, under "FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS."

Community dominant        Range of fire interval (yr)                                             interior ponderosa pine   20-42    (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum) Rocky Mt. Douglas-fir     10-30    (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) quaking aspen             7-10    (Populus tremuloides)             rough fescue              5-10    (Festuca altaica)
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Fire Management Considerations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: succession

Common yarrow's good sprouting ability, high germination percentages, and competitive seedlings result in a remarkable persistence under fire disturbance. Common yarrow often appears in the first stages of succession [15,63]; however, no consistent trends relative to age of burns seem evident for the common yarrow [4,57].

Common yarrow has low ignitability, and can be used as a fire barrier, created by replacing highly flammable vegetation with species that are less likely to burn [41]. Planting less-flammable vegetation in fire-prone areas, or around property and fire-sensitive areas, may help prevent ignition or slow fire spread [40].
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info on this topic.

More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

Hemicryptophyte
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Habitat characteristics

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Common yarrow usually occupies dry, open sites in a variety of habitats across its range including sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)-grassland, canyon bottoms, glades, roadsides, and vacant lots. It is prevalent in brushlands, quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), open timber, and subalpine zones. It is intolerant of dense shade. It is common on thin soils and sandy gravelly loam on open flats, parks, and dry meadows [69]. The elevational distribution in several western states is as follows [19]:

Colorado: 4,000-12,000 feet (1220-3660 m)
Montana: 2,400-10,000 feet ( 730-3050 m)
Utah: 4,300-10,300 feet (1210-3040 m)
Wyoming: 4,600-11,000 feet (1400-3350 m)
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Habitat: Cover Types

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: forest

210  Interior Douglas-fir forest

216  Blue spruce

217  Aspen

218  Lodgepole pine

219  Limber pine

237  Interior ponderosa pine
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Habitat: Ecosystem

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

More info for the term: shrub

FRES17  Elm-ash-cottonwood

FRES20  Douglas-fir

FRES21  Ponderosa pine

FRES23  Fir-spruce

FRES29  Sagebrush

FRES30  Desert shrub

FRES34  Chaparral-mountain shrub

FRES35  Pinyon-juniper

FRES36  Mountain grasslands

FRES38  Plains grasslands

FRES39  Prairie

FRES41  Wet grasslands

FRES44  Alpine:
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Habitat: Plant Associations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the terms: forest, woodland

K011  Western ponderosa forest

K012  Douglas-fir forest

K015  Western spruce-fir forest

K016  Eastern ponderosa forest

K018  Pine-Douglas-fir forest

K019  Arizona pine forest

K021  Southwestern spruce-fir forest

K023  Juniper-pinyon woodland

K037  Mountain mahogany-oak scrub

K038  Great Basin sagebrush

K040  Saltbush-greasewood

K049  Tule marshes

K051  Wheatgrass-bluegrass

K052  Alpine meadows and barren

K055  Sagebrush steppe

K056  Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe

K063  Foothills prairie

K064  Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass

K065  Grama-buffalograss

K066  Wheatgrass-needlegrass

K067  Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

K070  Sandsage-bluestem prairie

K074  Bluestem prairie

K098  Northern floodplain forest
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the terms: forb, grassland, shrub, shrubland, woodland

101  Bluebunch Wheatgrass

102  Idaho Fescue

103  Green Fescue 

104  Antelope Bitterbrush-Bluegrass Wheatgrass

105  Antelope Bitterbrush-Idaho Fescue

107  Western Juniper-Big Sagebrush

109  Ponderosa pine shrubland

110  Ponderosa Pine-Grassland

204  North Coastal Shrub

309  Idaho Fescue-Western Wheatgrass

315  Big Sagebrush-Idaho Fescue

316  Big Sagebrush-Rough Fescue

317  Bitterbrush-Bluebunch Wheatgrass

323  Shrubby Cinquefoil-Rough Fescue

401  Basin Big Sagebrush

402  Mountain Big Sagebrush

409  Tall Forb

411  Aspen Woodland

413  Gambel Oak

608  Wheatgrass-Grama-Needlegrass

610  Wheatgrass

613  Fescue Grassland

805  Riparian

910  Hairgrass
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Immediate Effect of Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants

Common yarrow's rhizomes and mycorrhizae are usually only slightly damaged by fire [10,38,60], although common yarrow is susceptible to fire-kill and reduction by severe fire [51].

Common yarrow is not highly flammable. Out of 14 species commonly found in boreal forests, common yarrow has the lowest potential ignitability based on chemical characteristics measured on live stem, live leaf and dead leaf tissues. These rankings rely primarily on total ash, silica-free ash and energy content [40]. Ignitability is measured as time to ignition.

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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants

Common yarrow varies greatly in forage value, depending on locality and seasonal development. It is generally unpalatable, although domestic livestock and wildlife occasionally consume the flowers. Cattle and horses usually do not graze common yarrow, but bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and deer may use it. They most often graze the flowerheads. common yarrow provides fair forage for domestic sheep and goats [24,43]. The average summer use is 20% for cattle and horses and 40% for domestic sheep and goats [58]. Common yarrow is an important food of 4- to 8-week-old sage grouse chicks [16].

Common yarrow contains volatile oils, alkaloids, and glycosides but is not generally considered a toxic plant because it is so seldom consumed by livestock. Milk from cows consuming common yarrow has a "disagreeable" flavor [64].

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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Key Plant Community Associations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Common yarrow occurs in a variety of plant communities across its wide distribution.
It is not usually a community dominant [39,54].
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bibliographic citation
Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Life Form

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: forb

Forb
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bibliographic citation
Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Management considerations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: rhizome, seed

Common yarrow tends to increase rapidly in disturbed areas or overgrazed rangelands,
replacing more valuable forage species and crops [43]. It is often an indicator of past
overstocking and excessive utilization [69]. Common yarrow tends to decrease on
grazing plots once grazing has ceased [7,20]. Since
rhizomes are a major means
of common yarrow regeneration, starting control measures early in autumn may prevent
spring growth from autumn and winter rhizome dry matter [15].
In New Zealand, barley (Hordeum vulgare) reduced rhizome and seed production
in common yarrow [15].



Dicamba and mixtures with triclopyr are effective in controlling common yarrow [74].
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Nutritional Value

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Common yarrow is rated as poor in energy and protein content [27].
In Northern Utah, plants growing on unfavorable sites (defined by
slope, exposure, and vegetation cover) were 9% higher in crude protein
than plants growing on favorable sites [21].

,Monthly nutrient values and moisture content of
common yarrow collected from Cold Meadows in the River of No Return
Wilderness, Idaho, (1977 to 1978) were as follows [29]:
                June        July           Aug
crude fiber    22(2.0)     24(1.8)       25(1.2)
crude protein  20(1.6)     17(0.3)       14(0.9)
moisture       78(5)       64(2)         58(3)
CA:P           2.7:1       4.5:1         5.1:1
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Occurrence in North America

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  FL 
GA  

HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME 
MD  

MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  MT  NE  NM  NV 
NH  

NJ  NY  NC  ND  OH  OK  OR  PA  RI 
SC  

SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  WA  WV  WI 
WY

DC  PR



AB  BC  MB  NB  NF  NT  ON  PQ  SK 
SK  

YT



Mexico
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Other uses and values

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: fresh

Native Americans used tea made from common yarrow to relieve ear-, tooth-, and headaches; as an eyewash; to reduce swelling; and as a tonic or stimulant. common yarrow varies in taste and in potency depending on where it grows and at what stage of growth it is in. The best time to collect yarrow for tea is right before the flowers are produced, using only the new succulent leaves [34]. During the Civil War, common yarrow was widely used to treat wounds and became known as "soldiers' woundwort." An ethanol extract of common yarrow has mosquito- repelling properties [67].

Common yarrow is used for summer and winter bouquets. When cut fresh and kept in water, common yarrow flavors the air with an aromatic spiciness [43,64].

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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Palatability

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
The palatability of common yarrow to livestock and wildlife in several
western states has been rated as follows [27]:
                     CO      MT      ND      UT      WY
Cattle              poor    poor    poor    poor    poor
Domestic sheep      fair    fair    fair    good    fair
Horses              poor    poor    poor    poor    poor
Pronghorn           ----    poor    fair    fair    fair
Elk                 ----    poor    ----    fair    fair
Mule deer           ----    poor    fair    fair    fair
White-tailed deer   ----    poor    poor    ----    fair
Small mammals       ----    poor    ----    fair    fair
Small nongame birds ----    poor    ----    fair    poor        
Upland game birds   ----    poor    ----    fair    good
Waterfowl           ----    ----    ----    poor    poor
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Phenology

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

Common yarrow has a long flowering season throughout its range, which varies as follows [19]:
    State     Earliest     Most Frequent     Latest                 Month         Month           Month ---------------------------------------------------      CO          May           May             Jun      ID          Apr           May             Jun      MT          May           May             Jun      UT          Apr           May             Jun      WY          May           Jun             Aug

Average dates of different growth stages at different elevations in Utah were recorded as follows [22]:

Elev.   Flower buds  Flowers    Seeds    Seeds         Plant (ft)    evident      in bloom   ripe     disseminated  dried --------------------------------------------------------------- 7,150   May 30       Jun 29     Sept 28  Sept 19       Oct 10 7,655   Jun 01       Jul 05     Aug 26   Sept 24       Oct 13 8,450   Jun 06       Jul 10     Sept 04  ---           Sept 25 9,000   Jun 18       Jul 15     Sept 08  Sept 29       Oct 01 10,100  Jun 25       Jul 21     Sept 20  Oct 08        Oct 08

Average heights (cm) of plants at various dates and altitudes from Ephraim Canyon in Utah were as follows (1925-1934) [22]:

Alt.(ft) May 1  May 15  Jun 1   Jun 15  Jul 1  Jul 15 ----------------------------------------------------- 7,150    4.9    9.1     16.2    26.2    30.8   33.9 7,655    3.9    8.0     12.9    20.0    28.4   31.1 8,450    1.4    4.6      7.7    15.8    24.2   29.3 9,000    --     0.5      3.5     7.9    19.0   28.3 10,100   --     --       --      5.1    11.1   19.9

Over a 10-year period in Saskatchewan, Canada, flowering dates were recorded for yarrow [18]:

                                                         Mean ------------First flowering date-----------  Latest date flowering earliest date & yr  latest date & yr  mean   in flower   period ------------------  ----------------  -----  --------    ------ May 28/1946         Jun 30/1950       Jun 19 Sept 23     78 days
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Plant Response to Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: cover, forest, frequency, grassland

Fire results in fragmentation of common yarrow's rhizomes stimulating regeneration [15]. Cover and frequency of common yarrow generally increase 1 to 2 years after fire but not with any consistent pattern [4,13,14,32,40,56,71]. After initially increasing in cover, common yarrow may decrease to unburned levels as early as 3 years after fire [17,37,65,75]. Production doubled within 3 to 4 years postfire near Missoula, Montana [6] and other ponderosa pine/mountain grassland ecosystems [32,69]. In another study of fire effects in ponderosa pine, common yarrow increased by 0.37 stem/m in 6 years, a negligible amount [55].

Common yarrow ground layer on the Stanislaus National Forest, 15 months after the 2013 Rim Fire.

Common yarrow is responsive to season of burning. Late spring burning usually reduces common yarrow [4,12,66].

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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Post-fire Regeneration

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: fire regime, herb, rhizome

Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find FIRE REGIMES".

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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Regeneration Processes

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: fruit, rhizome, seed

Common yarrow regenerates from fragments of rhizomes and from colonization through short-distance (1-2 m) wind dispersal of seeds [15,47,61]. In disturbed soils, fragmented rhizomes regenerate shoots which can emerge from soil depths as great as 12 inches (30 cm). In undisturbed soil the rhizomes remain attached to the parent plant, forming new plants at the rhizome apices [15].

The fruit is a small achenes weighing about 0.17 mg. They are produced in large numbers. Several thousand achenes may be produced per flowering stem. The viability of freshly shed seeds exceeds 90%. Common yarrow seed showed 41% germination after 9 years in dry storage [15].

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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Regional Distribution in the Western United States

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

 1  Northern Pacific Border

 2  Cascade Mountains

 3  Southern Pacific Border

 4  Sierra Mountains

 5  Columbia Plateau

 6  Upper Basin and Range

 7  Lower Basin and Range

 8  Northern Rocky Mountains

 9  Middle Rocky Mountains

10  Wyoming Basin

11  Southern Rocky Mountains

12  Colorado Plateau

13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont

14  Great Plains

15  Black Hills Uplift

16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Successional Status

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, competition, succession

Common yarrow is a pioneer species everywhere it is found [1]. It is an invader species on disturbed rangeland sites. Common yarrow also appears to be tolerant of competition but not tolerant of excessive shade. It is usually present in the earliest stages of vegetation development and persists throughout succession [42]. It dominates on overgrazed high summer ranges, where the undisturbed climax vegetation would be made up of wheatgrasses (Triticeae) [69].
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Synonyms

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Achillea lanulosa Nutt. [73]
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Taxonomy

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
The scientific name of common yarrow is Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae)
[26,36,44,73].
There are both native and introduced phases of common yarrow in North America. Introduced and native
phases differ primarily in chromosome number and are difficult to distinguish morphologically
[26,73]. Native and introduced phases
hybridize. The intricate pattern of morphologic, geographic, and ecologic variation within the species
has frustrated all efforts to organize an intraspecific taxonomy on a circumboreal or even a strictly
North American basis [26]. Most authorities do not recognize infrataxa
[26,73,74];
however, Kartesz [44] recognizes the following varieties:



Achillea millefolium var. alpicola (Rydb.) Garrolt - common yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. arenicola (Heller) Nobs - common yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. borealis (Bong.) Farw. - boreal yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. californica (Pollard) Jepson - California yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. gigantea (Pollard) Nobs - giant yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. litoralis (Ehrend.) Nobs - coast yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. megacephala (Raup) Bolvin - largehead yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis (DC.) Hyl. - western yarrow
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Due to its extensive system of rhizomes, common yarrow is a good soil binder [59] and has been used in erosion control projects on the Wasatch Plateau in central Utah [69]. In Massachusetts, seed-grown sod of common yarrow, along with sod of 11 other species, was transplanted onto a roadside site with shallow, infertile soil and direct exposure. After 4 years, common yarrow was one of 3 surviving species on the site [2].
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Aleksoff, Keith C. 1999. Achillea millefolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/achmil/all.html

Description

provided by Flora of Zimbabwe
Strongly aromatic perennial herb. Leaves deeply 2-3 pinnate with linear-subulate ultimate segments. Inflorescence terminal, large, branched, flat-topped consisting of numerous small capitula. Capitula white to pale mauve-lilac. Some cultivated hybrids have other colour forms.
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Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings
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Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T. and Ballings, P. (2002-2014). Achillea millefolium L. Flora of Zimbabwe website. Accessed 28 August 2014 at http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=160820
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Mark Hyde
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Bart Wursten
author
Petra Ballings
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Frequency

provided by Flora of Zimbabwe
Rare
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Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings
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Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T. and Ballings, P. (2002-2014). Achillea millefolium L. Flora of Zimbabwe website. Accessed 28 August 2014 at http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=160820
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Worldwide distribution

provided by Flora of Zimbabwe
Native to Europe and W Asia; introduced in many other countries.
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Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T. and Ballings, P. (2002-2014). Achillea millefolium L. Flora of Zimbabwe website. Accessed 28 August 2014 at http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=160820
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Comprehensive Description

provided by North American Flora
Achillea millefolium L. Sp. PI. 899. 1753
Alitubus Millefolium Dulac, Fl. Hautes-Pyr. 500. 1867.
A perennial, with a creeping rootstock; stem 3-6 dm. high, simple or branched above, sparingly villous, striate; leaves sparingly villous, bior tri-pinnatifid, the lower oblanceolate in outline, 1-2 dm. long, 2-4 mm. wide, petioled, the upper sessile, linear, oblong, 1-2.5 cm. wide; primary divisions ovate in outline, divaricate; rachis winged, 1-2 mm. broad; ultimate divisions linear-lanceolate, spinulose-tipped; heads many, in corymbiform panicles; involucre 4-5 mm. high, 3-5 ram. broad, villous; bracts about 20, in 4 series, the outer ovate, obtuse, about half as long as the innermost; inner bracts oblong, obtuse; margins light-brown, rarely dark-brown; ray-flowers mostly 5; ligules white or rarely pink or rose-colored, orbicular, 2.5-3 tnm. long; disk-flowers 20-25; corollas 2.5-3 mm. long, yellowish-white; achenes 2 mm. long, with thick wing-margins.
Type umtality: Europe.
Distribution: Naturalized or native (?) from Nova Scotia and Quebec to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, occasionally found as far as Florida, Illinois, and Alberta; Yukon; Bermudas; native of Euroi>e and Asia.
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Per Axel Rydberg. 1916. (CARDUALES); CARDUACEAE; TAGETEAE, ANTHEMIDEAE. North American flora. vol 34(3). New York Botanical Garden, New York, NY
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Achillea millefolium

provided by wikipedia EN

White flower with green leaves on a dark background.
Yarrow flower by a pond, UK.

Achillea millefolium, commonly known as yarrow (/ˈjær/) or common yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America.[2] It has been introduced as a feed for livestock in New Zealand[3] and Australia, where it is a common weed of both wet and dry areas, such as roadsides, meadows, fields and coastal places.[3]

In New Mexico and southern Colorado, it is called plumajillo (Spanish for 'little feather') from its leaf shape and texture. In antiquity, yarrow was known as herba militaris, for its use in stanching the flow of blood from wounds.[4] Other common names for this species include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.[5]

Description

 src=
Clusters of 15 to 40 tiny disk flowers surrounded by three to eight white to pink ray flowers are, in turn, arranged in a flat-topped inflorescence (Wenatchee Mountains, Washington).

Achillea millefolium is an erect, herbaceous, perennial plant that produces one to several stems 0.2–1 metre (8–40 inches) in height, and has a spreading 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 centimetres (2–8 in) long, bipinnate or tripinnate, almost feathery, and arranged spirally on the stems. The leaves are cauline, and more or less clasping,[5] being more petiolate near the base.[6]

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, which are ovate to round. Disk flowers range from 15 to 40. The inflorescence is produced in a flat-topped capitulum cluster and the inflorescences are visited by many insects, featuring a generalized pollination system.[7] The small achene-like fruits are called cypsela.[5]

The plant has a strong, sweet scent, similar to that of chrysanthemums.[2]

Chemistry

The dark blue essential oil of yarrow contains chemicals called proazulenes.[8]

Chamazulene and δ-Cadinol are chemical compounds found in A. millefolium. The chromophore of azulene was discovered in yarrow and wormwood and named in 1863 by Septimus Piesse.

Yarrow contains isovaleric acid, salicylic acid, asparagine, sterols, and flavonoids.[9]

 src=
Achillea millefolium after a wildfire in the Wenatchee foothills, Washington

Taxonomy

The several varieties and subspecies include:

  • Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium
    • A. m. subsp. m. var. millefolium – Europe, Asia
    • A. m. subsp. m. var. borealisArctic regions
    • A. m. subsp. m. var. rubra – Southern Appalachians
  • A. millefolium subsp. chitralensis – western Himalaya
  • A. millefolium subsp. sudeticaAlps, Carpathians
  • Achillea millefolium var. alpicola – Western United States, Alaska[10]
  • Achillea millefolium var. californica – California, Pacific Northwest[11][12][13]
  • Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis – North America[14]
  • Achillea millefolium var. pacifica – west coast of North America, Alaska[15]
  • Achillea millefolium var. puberulaendemic to California[16]

Distribution and habitat

Yarrow grows from sea level to 3,500 m (11,500 ft) in elevation. The plant commonly flowers from May to July. Common yarrow is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring.[2][5]

The plant is native to Eurasia and is found widely from the UK to China.

In North America, both native and introduced genotypes, and both diploid and polyploid plants are found.[17] It is found in every habitat throughout California except the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.[18][19] Common yarrow produces an average yield of 110,000 plants per hectare (43,000/acre), with a total dry weight of 11,800 kg/ha (10,500 lb/acre).[20]

The plant is found in Australia as an introduction.

Ecology

 src=
Pollination

Birds

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.[21]

Insects

Achillea millefolium is a food source for many species of insects.

Moths

The larvae of the moths Bucculatrix clavenae, B. cristatella, B. fatigatella, B. humiliella, B. latviaella, Cnephasia abrasana, Cochylimorpha elongana, Coleophora argentula, C. carelica, C. ditella, C. expressella, C. follicularis, C. gardesanella, C. millefolii, C. partitella, C. ptarmicia, C. quadristraminella, C. succursella, C. vibicigerella, Depressaria olerella, D. silesiaca, Dichrorampha alpinana (broad-blotch drill), D. petiverella, D. vancouverana (tanacetum root moth), Eupithecia millefoliata (yarrow pug), E. nanata (narrow-winged pug), Gillmeria pallidactyla, Idaea pallidata, Isidiella nickerlii, Loxostege manualis, Phycitodes maritima, P. saxicola, Pyncostola bohemiella, Sophronia sicariellus and Thetidia smaragdaria (Essex emerald) feed on Achillea millefolium in Europe.
The larvae of Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria (blackberry looper), Coleophora quadruplex and Sparganothoides lentiginosana (lentiginos moth) feed on A. millefolium in North America.
Other species of moths with a more cosmopolitan distribution include Aethes smeathmanniana (Smeathmann's aethes moth), Chloroclystis v-ata (v-pug), Choristoneura diversana, Cochylidia richteriana, Epiblema graphana, Eupithecia succenturiata (bordered pug), E. vulgata (common pug), Jordanita budensis and Thiodia citrana (lemon bell).

Beetles

Cassida denticollis, Galeruca tanaceti, Hypocassida subferruginea and Phytoecia virgula are cosmopolitan species of beetles that feed on A. millefolium.
Chrysanthia viridissima is a European species whose adults can be found feeding on pollen and nectar.
Trichodes ornatus (ornate checkered beetle) is a species found in North America whose adults can be found feeding on A. millefolium.

True bugs

Horistus orientalis is a species of plant bugs that feeds on A. millefolium.

Wasps

Hedychrum rutilans is a species of cuckoo wasps whose adults can be found feeding on A. millefolium in Europe and North Africa.

Cultivation

 src=
Achillea millefolium 'Paprika' cultivar
 src=
Achillea millefolium cultivar

Achillea millefolium is cultivated as an ornamental plant by many plant nurseries. It is planted in gardens and natural landscaping settings of diverse climates and styles. They include native plant, drought-tolerant, and wildlife gardens. The plant is a frequent component of butterfly gardens. The plant prefers well-drained soil in full sun, but can be grown in less ideal conditions.[22][23][24]

Propagation

For propagation, seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than 6 mm (14 in). Seeds also require a germination temperature of 18–24 °C (64–75 °F). It has a relatively short life in some situations, but may be prolonged by division in the spring every other year, and planting 30 to 46 cm (12–18 in) apart. It can become invasive.[25]

Cultivars

The species use in traditional gardens has generally been superseded by cultivars with specific 'improved' qualities.[26] Some are used as drought tolerant lawn replacements, with periodic mowing.[27] The many different ornamental cultivars include: 'Paprika',[28] 'Cerise Queen', 'Red Beauty',[29] 'Red Velvet',[30] 'Saucy Seduction', 'Strawberry Seduction' (red), 'Island Pink' (pink),[31] and 'Calistoga' (white),[32] and 'Sonoma Coast' (white).[33] The following are recipients of the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

  • 'Credo'[34]
  • 'Lachsschönheit' (Galaxy Series)[35]
  • 'Martina'[36]
  • 'Lansdorferglut'[37]

The many hybrids of this species designated Achillea × taygetea are useful garden subjects,[38] including: 'Appleblossom', 'Fanal', 'Hoffnung', and 'Moonshine'.[39]

Toxicity

In rare cases, yarrow can cause severe allergic skin rashes; prolonged use can increase the skin's photosensitivity.[40] This can be triggered initially when wet skin comes into contact with cut grass and yarrow together.

According to the ASPCA, yarrow is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, causing increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea and dermatitis.[41]

In a standard rodent model for reproductive toxicity, aqueous extracts of yarrow produced a significant increase in the percentage of abnormal sperm.[42]

Uses

 src=
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) essential oil in a colorless glass vial

Some pick-up sticks are made of yarrow.

Yarrow can be used for dying wool as it contains apigenin and luteolin. Depending on the mordant the color may be green to yellow.[43]

Companion planting

Yarrow is considered an especially useful companion plant, attracting beneficial insects and repelling some pests. It attracts predatory wasps, which drink the nectar and then use insect pests as food for their larvae. Similarly, it attracts ladybirds and hoverflies.[24]

Agriculture

A. millefolium can be planted to combat soil erosion due to the plant's resistance to drought. Before the arrival of monocultures of ryegrass, both grass and pasture contained A. millefolium at a density of about 0.3 kg/ha. One factor for its use in grass mixtures was its deep roots, with leaves rich in minerals, minimizing mineral deficiencies in ruminant feed. It was introduced into New Zealand as a drought-tolerant pasture.[3]

Food

Yarrow leaves have a delicate grassy flavour, with a slight aniseed taste. This makes them useful for brewing as a tea.[44] They are abundant in grassland and so can easily be foraged; the leaves are useful in salad, chopped in cooking as a herb, and steeped in hot water for a tea.

In the Middle Ages, yarrow was part of a herbal mixture known as gruit used in the flavoring of beer prior to the use of hops.[45] The flowers and leaves are used in making some liquors and bitters.[2]

When consumed by cows, an unfavorable flavor is given to their milk.[46]

Traditional medicine

A. millefolium was used as in traditional medicine, possibly due to its astringent effects.[2] Yarrow and its North American varieties were traditionally used by many Native American nations.[47] The Navajo historically considered it a "life medicine" and chewed the plant for toothaches and used its infusions for earaches. The Miwok in California used the plant as an analgesic and head cold remedy.[47] Native American nations used the plant for healing cuts and abrasions, for relief of ear-aches, and throat infections, and for an eye-wash.[48] Common yarrow was used by Plains indigenous peoples to reduce pain or fever and aid sleep.[47]

In the early 20th century, some Ojibwe people used a decoction of yarrow leaves on hot stones and inhaled it to treat headaches,[49] or applied decoctions of the root onto skin for its stimulating effect.[50]

Folklore

The English name yarrow comes from its Saxon (Old English) name gearwe, which is related to both the Dutch word gerw (alternately yerw[51]) and the Old High German word garawa.[52] In the eastern counties it may be called yarroway.[51]

The genus name Achillea is derived from mythical Greek character, Achilles, who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds.[53] The specific name millefolium as well as the common names milfoil and thousand weed come from the featherlike leaves which appear to be divided into a thousand.[53]

For its historical use in wound healing particularly in the military it was called bloodwort, herba militaris, knight's milfoil, staunchweed, and, from its use in the US Civil War, soldier's woundwort.[53] Its use in either starting or stopping nosebleeds led to the common name nosebleed.[51][54] For its association with the Abrahamic Devil it was called bad man's plaything, devil's nettle, and devil's plaything.[51] It was called old man's pepper due to its pungent flavor, while the name field hop came from its use in beer making in Sweden.[51]

Other traditional names for A. millefolium include arrowroot, carpenter's weed,[51] death flower, eerie, hundred leaved grass, knyghten, old man's mustard, sanguinary,[51] seven-year's love, snake's grass, soldier, and thousand seal.

Greece

In classical Greece, Homer tells of the centaur Chiron, who conveyed herbal secrets to his human pupils, and taught Achilles to use yarrow on the battle grounds of Troy.[55]

China

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A bunch of 50 yarrow Achillea millefolium subsp. millefolium var. millefolium stalks, used for I Ching divination.

Yarrow and tortoiseshell are considered to be lucky in Chinese tradition.[56]

The stalks are dried and used as a randomising agent in I Ching divination.[57]

British Isles

In the Hebrides a leaf held against the eyes was sometimes believed to give second sight.[58]

In Sussex and Devonshire superstition, yarrow was used for finding one's real sweetheart. One would pluck yarrow growing on a young man's grave while reciting:

Yarrow, sweet yarrow, the first that I have found,
in the name of Jesus Christ, I pluck it from the ground;
As Joseph loved sweet Mary, and took her for his dear,
so in a dream this night, I hope, my true love will appear.

and go to sleep with the yarrow under the pillow.[54]

In a similar tradition in Wicklow, girls would pick yarrow on Hallow Eve and recite:

Thou pretty herb of Venus' tree,
Thy true name is yarrow;
Now who my bosom friend may be,
Pray tell thou me to-morrow.

then retire for the night without speaking and go to sleep with an ounce of yarrow sewn in flannel under the pillow.[54]

In Suffolk a leaf was placed in the nose so it would bleed, while reciting

Green 'arrow, green 'arrow, you bears a white blow,
If my love love me, my nose will bleed now;
If my love don't love me, it 'on't bleed a drop,
If my love do love me, 'twill bleed every drop.
[54]

In Dublin on May Day or the night before, women would place a stocking full of yarrow under their pillow and recite:

Good morrow, good yarrow, good morrow to thee,
I hope by the yarrow my lover to see;
And that he may be married to me.
The colour of his hair and the clothes he does wear,
And if he be for me may his face be turned to me,
And if he be not, dark and surely may he be,
And his back be turned toward me.
[54]

In the witchcraft trial of Elspeth Reoch in March 1616, she was alleged to have plucked "melefour," thought to be another name for yarrow, and said "In nomine Patris, Fiili, et Spiritus Sancti" to become able to cure distemper (disorders of the four humours) and impart the faculty of prediction.[54]

Yarrow was thought to bring luck due to being "the first herb our Saviour put in His hand when a child."[54]

Gallery

References

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Achillea millefolium: Brief Summary

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White flower with green leaves on a dark background. Yarrow flower by a pond, UK.

Achillea millefolium, commonly known as yarrow (/ˈjæroʊ/) or common yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. It has been introduced as a feed for livestock in New Zealand and Australia, where it is a common weed of both wet and dry areas, such as roadsides, meadows, fields and coastal places.

In New Mexico and southern Colorado, it is called plumajillo (Spanish for 'little feather') from its leaf shape and texture. In antiquity, yarrow was known as herba militaris, for its use in stanching the flow of blood from wounds. Other common names for this species include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.

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