Soft feathery, almost fern-like foliage, forms dense mats above which are borne huge, dense flat heads of white flowers up to 12cm (5in) wide, these native wildflowers have clustered flower heads of tiny white flowers that from a distance look like little patches of snow resting on the grass. The handsome leaves are aromatic, especially in the early morning dew.
This famous herb is terrific as a wildflower clump in a blooming meadow, since not only foliage, but flowers are lovely and lasting. They are also a favourite for cut and dried flower arrangements.
Yarrow occurs widely in a range of grassy and open habitats and on a wide range of soils. In grassland it is found from closely mown turf to rough unmanaged road verges. It will also tolerate light shade such as occurs in orchards and along hedgerows.
Yarrows are short-lived perennials and are excellent, drought tolerant, low care garden flowers for locations with poor soil and good drainage. They are great as a clump or to cover problem areas.
They can easily dominate and crowd out other smaller wildflowers so should be used sparingly or in seed mixes.
Yarrow germinates freely and can be sown at any time of year when conditions are suitable for growth.
It is usually sown in late winter to early spring or late summer to autumn, when temperatures are around 18 to 25°C (62 to 75°F)
Sow the seeds into cells or pots containing good quality seed compost. Sow on the surface and do not cover, as light aids germination of seeds.Water from the base of the tray, Place in a propagator or warm place, ideally at 18 to 25°C (62 to 75°F) Keep the compost moist but not wet at all times. Germination 5 to 10 days.
Prick out each seedling once it has its first set of “true” leaves, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays to grow on. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost has passed. Transplant to full sun and light soil; if the soil is rich, the stems get floppy. Plant 30 to 60cm (12 to 24in) apart.
Yarrow is a very easy plant to care for, it requires to be cut back in the autumn and divided every four years to maintain healthy growth.
Harvesting & Storage:
Harvest stems and flowers on a dry morning when the plants are in the early stages of bloom. Hang upside down in a dark, dry and airy space. To store for teas, wait until the stems are dry and crumble stem, leaves and flowers and store in airtight jars.
Yarrow is a wound herb, astringent and healing, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Bruised, fresh leaves bound to cuts help speed up healing. It is anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-flatulent and a tonic. It is also effective in lowering blood pressure, relaxing spasms, and arresting haemorrhage. A tea restores lost appetite and promotes perspiration during colds and fevers.
Finely-chopped leaves added to a salad or sandwiches add a pleasantly sharp taste.
Low Maintenance, Wildflower / Wildlife Garden, Dry Garden, Flower Arranging,
In the garden, yarrow is said to increase the health of nearby plants and will intensify the flavour of herbs grown near it. It is also a good compost activator.
Its flowers attract many beneficial insects, including ladybirds and parasitic wasps that prey on garden pests, in particular aphids. Ants do not like the smell; crushed leaves can be used as a deterrent.
Several cavity-nesting birds, including the common starling, use yarrow to line their nests. Experiments suggest that adding yarrow to nests inhibits the growth of parasites.
Achillea is used for making natural dyes and will give a range of yellow, tan and green colours.
Yarrow has a great medieval herbal history, and has been used in medicine and magic for centuries.
It was commonly used to flavour beer before the introduction of hops, and it still flavours vermouth and bitters.
Yarrow was used by the Chinese as a herb of divination, the I Ching was originally thrown not with coins but with dried yarrow stalks.This plant has often been a device for divining the identity of one's future lover.
In the past, yarrow was used as a protectant. It was strewn across the threshold to keep out evil and worn to protect against hexes. It was tied to an infant's cradle to protect it from those who might try to steal its soul. The Saxons wore amulets made of this plant to protect against blindness, robbers, and dogs….among other things!
Achillea millefolium is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe and Asia, it is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere to an elevation of 3,500m. It has flourished in North America due to its ability to withstand drought.
Named by Linnaeus, its name is said to derive from Achilles. Homer’s hero in the Iliad, who was well-trained in healing wounds as well as in causing them. He was reputed to have used it to staunch the bleeding wounds of his soldiers.
Yarrow has been used for thousands of years to staunch the flow of blood and for other medical purposes, In antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris or soldier’s herb, nosebleed plant, and soldier’s woundwort.
The species name millefolium and other common names such as milfoil, thousand-leaf and thousand-seal, refer to its feathery leaves which are arranged spirally on the stems.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 6,000 seeds Family Asteraceae Genus Achillea Species millefolium Common Name Wildflower of Britain and Ireland Other Common Names herbal militaris or soldier’s herb, nosebleed plant, and soldier’s woundwort.
milfoil, thousand-leaf and thousand-seal,
Other Language Names IR - Athair thalún. FR - Achillee millefeuille. Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers White in June to August Foliage Dark green, finely divided, fern-like leaves Height 60 to 120 cm (24 to 48in) Spread 30 to 40cm (12 to 15in) Position Full sun preferred Soil Well-drained/light, Moist, Sandy Time to Sow Usually sown in late winter to early spring or late summer to autumn Germination 5 to 10 days at 18 to 25°C (62 to 75°F)