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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium and other spp.) is a hardy, perennial herb. It grows wild in many places, and is often found on land considered to be wasteland. The plant has a strong odour disliked by many grazing animals, which may account for its prolific growth when it gets a hold in any area of land. It is a tough plant and certainly bounces back with ease after livestock or people have trampled over it.
Yarrow grows to about 30cm or 12 inches tall.
The name "millefolium" translates to "thousand-leaved", which is a description of the plant's foliage, which is finely divided.
Each species of yarrow has flowers in flat head formations. The colours of the flowers vary depending on the species:
- The wild species, Achillea millefolium has white or pink flowers.
- Achillea filpendulina has bright yellow flowers. This is a cultivated yarrow, larger in size, growing to 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall. The flowers grow up to 12.5cm/5 inches in diameter.
- Achillea ptarmica has white flowers tinged with green; its leaves are also undivided. The flowerheads are less dense on this plant.
Select a sunny position. The soil should be well-drained and it would appreciate a little sand in the soil.
If using seeds, sow where you wish them to grow. Do this in the springtime.
Alternatively, you can split the roots and transplant these in either the spring or autumn.
Uses for yarrow
Decorative or craft
Yarrow is useful for drying, the flower parts especially. To dry, simply hang bunches of it from the stem ends in a dry place with good air circulation. It should keep the colour of the flowerheads after drying.
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The leaves can be crushed and placed on wounds to assist with healing.[verification needed]