Common yarrow

A perennial species that copes well in most locations. Common yarrow is an anti-smog plant. It is appreciated more and more as a natural mosquito repellent and simultaneously a plant that attracts beneficial insects, especially ladybugs and hoverflies. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.

SKU: N066

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About the species

Polish name: common yarrow, thousand-leafer, marrier-yarrow, mums-yarrow, God’s hand, pig’s belly, soldier’s herb, pauper’s pepper, seven years of love

Latin Name: Achillea millefolium L.

Family: the aster family Asteraceae (the composites Compositae), subfamily Asteroidae (Glebionidae)

Status in Poland: native, very common

perennial plant
Flower color:
about 60 cm


Medium-sized, loosely tufted, durable plant (perennial) with multipinnate leaves and whitish flowers, all covered with woolly hair, developing at first a multitude of rosettes, and then stems, with strong smell more pleasant than in  related chrysanths.

Common yarrow has three types of shoots :
1) completely underground runners,
2) creeping rhizomes,
3) erect, mossy inflorescence shoots (stems).

Rhizomes are pink in nodes, yellowish in fragments protruding above the ground, and completely white deeper in the ground. The stems of Achillea millefolium erect, or at most slightly branched at the base, characterized by a purple or brown tinge, and a light inside. To the touch strongly mossy, and simultaneously clearly furrowed.

Yarrow leaves, wide 10-20 mm on the stem, and 20-40 mm in rosettes, are characterized by a very specific, tri- or quadripinnate shape, with tens or hundreds of linear sections. They are usually slightly mossy upside the blade, and more felted (therefore grayish or greenish-gray)  underside, with lanceolate blades in general outline.

The structures commonly known as the yarrow flower are in fact whole inflorescences. White or red (in garden cultivars) corymbs on the tops are second-order inflorescences . A single head is a first-order inflorescence , composed of: 3-20 disc flowers, 4-5 ray flowers, and 3 rows of phyllaries. Disc flowers are characterized by a fivefold radial symmetry, and  yellowish or light beige corolla. Ray flowers, on the other hand, tend to be tripartite and whitish, less often reddish. The phyllaries are lanceolate, overlapping tilely , slightly tomentosed, with  membranous margins, distinguish by a creamy white or beige color from the vivid green rest of the leaf.

The fruit of the yarrow will be the typical Asteraceae achene, in the case of this species flat, narrowly winged, with quite characteristic silvery color.

Additional information


Achillea millefolium is a species that is easy to grow, undemanding, very resistant to frost, drought, competition and many herbicides. It copes perfectly on any even infertile, or contaminated soil. It blooms most splendidly in light, warm and dry places, on permeable but fertile soils.

Removing overblown inflorescences extends flowering. It is also worth to shorten the stems in the spring to reduce weed infestation in the neighboring vegetable gardens, and flower beds.

Interesting facts

It is valued more and more as a plant that repels mosquitoes, and simultaneously attracts beneficial insects, especially ladybugs and hoverflies (flies pollinating many flowers, with larvae that purify water or soil).

Since immemorial times, yarrow has been used as a medicinal herb, spice and wild vegetable, with a salty bitter taste to replace overseas ‘roots’. As a wound-healing herb, it was used massively in field hospitals during the Civil War. To this day, it is included in many cosmetics for the care of hair, face and teeth.

Former farmers highly valued the common yarrow as a fodder plant that was willingly eaten by horses and cattle. Chopped yarrow leaves mixed with nettle and “dandelion” (dandelion, and the usual undistinguished hawksbeards, hawkbits, hawkweeds, young goatsbeards, etc.), were given to chickens and turkeys to grow healthy.

In China, dried yarrow stems are used for fortune-telling as part of the I Ching tradition, and in Europe the pick-up sticks are still made of them today.

Yarrow herb can dye wool green or brown.

Common yarrow in seed mixtures:

Use Value

No detailed scientifically proven data. On yarrow inflorescences there are often seen fabulously colored metallic red-blue cuckoo wasps Hedychrum – wasps secretly placing their eggs to other, completely unrelated hymenopterans in order to raise their offspring (like cuckoos among birds).

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