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Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.)

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Summary

A mildly aromatic herb with feather-like leaves, native to temperate regions across the northern hemisphere. In North America, both native and introduced populations exist.

Inconsistent identification and reporting of native vs introduced varieties makes it hard to obtain accurate information about the relative distribution of the various varieties, but the species is clearly established across nearly all of North America.

Range - Expand

LegendColor
Native
Native or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

Habitat

Prefers full or partial sun and exposed, open sites, usually drier sites although it tolerates mesic conditions. Tolerant of competition from other low plants, but not shade. Tolerant of all but severe fires, and often benefits from fire.

Found in a variety of grasslands, prairies, meadows, pastureland, fallow fields, and sometimes lawns. Occurs in a wide range of different open habitats, but not usually a dominant plant. In eastern North America, usually only occurs in disturbed habitats, where it benefits from mowing, soil degradation, and the addition of gravel to the soil along roads and railroads.

Uses

Used in traditional medicine as as astringent, particularly to treat wounds.

In gardens, used as a companion plant to attract certain insects while repelling others.

Numerous other Achillea species occur in North America, most with limited, extremely northerly distributions. This species is by far the most widely distributed, and the only one to range farther south.

The second most widely distributed is Achillea ptarmica, introduced from Europe, and uncommon and scattered in North America.

The broader Anthemideae tribe of the Asteraceae family has numerous other species in North America.

Common Yarrow | Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) (About This Site)

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Achillea millefolium | Go Botany (About This Site)

Common Yarrow | iNaturalist (About This Site)

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) | Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (About This Site)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) | CABI Invasive Species Compendium (About This Site)

Achillea millefolium | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)