Mountains, fields, wetlands, and human-disturbed areas
North America and Eurasia
Least Concern (IUCN Red List)
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Common yarrow is a perennial plant that grows up to 3 feet tall. Yarrow has alternate, fern-like leaves that grow around 3 to 5 inches in length. Their white (or sometimes slightly pink) flowers grow clustered together in compact clumps at the top of the stem.
Yarrow has a long lineage of medicinal uses and folklore. Remnants of yarrow were found in a burial site of a Neanderthal grave, along with other medicinal herbs.
The name Achillea (the yarrow's genus) comes from the Greek hero Achilles who was said to carry yarrow with him into battle to heal the wounds of his soldiers. The story goes on to say that Achilles received yarrow “that grew from the rust on his spear” from a centaur named Chiron who showed him how to use the plant.
Yarrow represents both healing and war in the early Victorian language of flowers.
Yarrow is still used medicinally today for stopping nose bleeds (hence its common name "the nosebleed plant"), aids in stomach cramping and digestion, breaking fevers, and is externally used for sores, among a number of other uses.
Doctors used to use mashed yarrow root and whiskey as an anesthetic for surgeries.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Achillea millefolium, 2017, https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=acmi2
Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, Yarrow Throughout History, 2015, https://clinicalherbalism.com/yarrow-throughout-history/
Gaea and Shandor Weiss, Growing and Using Healing Herbs, 1985, book.
Mountain Rose Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar's Garden Wisdoms: Yarrow, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiVymj446dg
California Native Plant Society, Common Yarrow, 2021, https://calscape.org/Achillea-millefolium-(Common-Yarrow)
IUCN Red List, Yarrow, 2016, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/202909/78457012
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