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Achillea ptarmica (sneezewort, sneezeweed, bastard pellitory, European pellitory, fair-maid-of-France, goose tongue, sneezewort yarrow, wild pellitory, white tansy) is a species of herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the genus Achillea. It has loose clusters of white, button-like flowers that bloom from June to August. Its dark green leaves have finely toothed margins.
The name ptarmica comes from the Greek word ptairo (=sneeze) and means 'causes sneezing'. The name "yarrow" applies specifically to varieties of A. millefolium, but is often confusingly used for other species within the genus - including A. ptarmica.
Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Leaves are Cardiac; Diaphoretic; Digestive; Emmenagogue; Odontalgic; Sternutatory; Styptic. The leaf is chewed to relieve toothache. The dried, powdered leaves are used as a sneezing powder. Yields an essential oil that is used medicinally. The leaves are used as an insect repellent.
The plant is poisonous to cattle, sheep, and horses. Symptoms are generally slow to develop, and include fever, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, weight loss, drooling, spasms and loss of muscular control, and convulsions.
This is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that prefers full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Propagation is by sowing seed or division in Spring. Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use, including 'The Pearl' (a clonal variety) and 'Aunt Stientje'. Both have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. pp. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- Jill Britton (7 May 2005). "Fibonacci Numbers in Nature". http://britton.disted.camosun.bc.ca/fibslide/jbfibslide.htm.
- "Achillea ptarmica". 2005. http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Achillea%20ptarmicaa.
- Bailey, L. H. (2005). Manual of Gardening (Second Edition).. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/9550.
- Wood, John (2006). Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
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