Brief Summary

Achillea is a genus of flowering plants comprised of approximately 85 distinct species that are distributed across North America, Eurasia and North Africa.

Known by the common names of Yarrow or Milfoil, these strongly scented perennials have alternate leaves, which are simple to 3-pinnately dissected. For the inflorescence: heads are generally radiate, in flat-topped clusters; The ray flowers are few, white, pink, or yellow. Disk flowers are typically many, and corollae are short, white to purple or yellow. Fruits are oblong to obovate.
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Comprehensive Description


Perennial herbs. Leaves alternate, finely pinnatisect. Capitula in corymbs, heterogamous. Phyllaries many-seriate; margin scarious. Receptacular scales narrow, scarious. Ray florets female, white or pink (in ours) or yellow. Disk florets bisexual, tubular, white or yellow. Achenes strongly flattened, not ribbed; apex truncate. Pappus 0.
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Source: Flora of Zimbabwe


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General Description

"Milfoil, achillée [for Greek god Achilles, who is supposed to have used the plants to treat his wounds]

Perennials [subshrubs], 6–80 cm (usually rhizomatous, sometimes fibrous rooted or taprooted; usually aromatic). Stems 1(–4+, clustered), usually erect, branched mostly distally, glabrous or sparsely to densely lanate (hairs usually basifixed). Leaves basal (often withering before flowering) and cauline; alternate; petiolate or sessile (bases ± clasping); blades (cauline equaling basal or slightly smaller distally) linear to oblong-lanceolate, usually 1–2[–4]-pinnately lobed, ultimate margins entire, abaxial faces sparsely to densely lanate, adaxial faces glabrate to sparsely tomentose. Heads radiate [discoid], in compact to open (± flat-topped), simple or compound, corymbiform arrays [borne singly]. Involucres campanulate to hemispheric, mostly 2–3(–5+) mm diam. Phyllaries persistent, 10–30 in (1–)2–3(–4) series, oblong, ovate, or oblanceolate to lanceolate (midribs conspicuous), unequal, margins and apices (pale to black) scarious. Receptacles usually flat to slightly convex, rarely conic, paleate; paleae membranous, ± folded (sometimes each with central resin duct). Ray florets [0] 3–5(–12+), usually pistillate and fertile; corollas usually white (laminae yellow at bases), sometimes pale yellow to pink or purple (tubes ± flattened), laminae orbiculate to suborbiculate (becoming reflexed). Disc florets usually (5–)15–75+, rarely 0, bisexual, fertile; corollas white to grayish or yellowish [yellow, pink], tubes ± flattened (bases ± saccate, clasping apices of cypselae), throats ± campanulate, lobes 5, ± deltate. Cypselae obcompressed, oblong to obovate (margins sometimes winged, apices rounded); ribs usually 2, lateral (sometimes plus 1 adaxial), faces glabrous (pericarps with myxogenic cells, sometimes with resin sacs; embryo sac development monosporic). x = 9.

Species ca. 115 (4 in the flora): subtropic to temperate and arctic regions of North America and Eurasia.

Centers of diversity for Achillea are in Europe and Asia. Achillea ageratum, A. distans, and A. ligustica have been reported as occurring in North America. Labels on herbarium specimens examined indicated that those reports were based on cultivated plants; there is no evidence that any of the three has become established in our flora. Achillea filipendulina may be persistent or established in California (F. Hrusa et al. 2002) and in Michigan (E. Voss 1972–1996, vol. 3).

Achillea includes aromatic herbs with diverse vegetative morphologies. Floral characters show much less variation. Some species are widely cultivated both in Eurasia and North America. Interspecific hybridization has made identifications difficult and has evidently contributed to long lists of synonyms for some species.

Plants of Achillea contain secondary metabolites with purported therapeutic and pharmacologic uses. Native Americans used the plants to treat earaches, diarrhea, and hemorrhages."

Trock, Debra K. “Achillea millefolium” in Flora of North America, Vol. 19, p. 493. Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, NY. 2006.

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Source: Compositae


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Foodplant / gall
Asterolecanium fimbriatum causes gall of stem of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
Brachycaudus helichrysi causes gall of inflorescence of Achillea

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Cheilosia vernalis feeds on stem of Achillea
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / gall
Craspedolepta nervosa causes gall of leaf of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
larva of Dithryca guttularis causes gall of stem (base) of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
Eriophyes kiefferi causes gall of inflorescence of Achillea

Plant / resting place / on
Haplothrips setiger may be found on live flower of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
larva of Lasioptera francoisi causes gall of leaf of Achillea

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Longitarsus succineus grazes on leaf of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
Macrosiphoniella millefolii causes gall of inflorescence of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
larva of Misopatha palearum causes gall of stem of Achillea

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Mordellistena parvula feeds on Achillea

Plant / resting place / within
puparium of Ophiomyia curvipalpis may be found in stem of Achillea
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / gall
larva of Oxyna flavipennis causes gall of stem (base) of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
larva of Ozirhincus millefolii causes gall of inflorescence of Achillea

Foodplant / feeds on
Pseudostyphlus pillumus feeds on Achillea

Foodplant / gall
larva of Rhopalomyia millefolii causes gall of leaf of Achillea

Foodplant / gall
larva of Rhopalomyia ptarmicae causes gall of inflorescence of Achillea

Plant / resting place / on
male of Thrips pillichi may be found on live flower of Achillea
Remarks: season: 6-9

Foodplant / miner
larva of Trypeta zoe mines leaf of Achillea
Remarks: Other: uncertain


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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:197
Specimens with Sequences:249
Specimens with Barcodes:124
Species With Barcodes:68
Public Records:135
Public Species:66
Public BINs:0
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)


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Barcode data

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For other uses, see Achillea (disambiguation).

Achillea /ækɨˈlə/[3] is a group of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1753.[4][5]

The genus is native primarily to Europe, temperate areas of Asia, and North America.[6][7]

The common name "yarrow" is usually applied to Achillea millefolium,[8] but may also be used for other species within the genus. These plants typically have frilly, hairy, aromatic leaves.

These plants show large, flat clusters of small flowers at the top of the stem. These flowers can be white, yellow, orange, pink or red.

The genus was named after the Greek mythological character Achilles. According to the Iliad, Achilles' soldiers used yarrow to treat their wounds,[9] hence some of its common names such as allheal and bloodwort.

Achillea species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Achillea.


A number of species - notably A. filipendulina, A. millefolium, A. ptarmica, are popular garden plants.

List of species[edit]

Accepted species
  1. Achillea abrotanoides
  2. Achillea absinthoides
  3. Achillea acuminata
  4. Achillea aegyptiaca: Egyptian Yarrow
  5. Achillea ageratifolia : Balkan Yarrow, Greek Yarrow
  6. Achillea ageratum : Sweet Yarrow, Sweet Nancy, English Mace
  7. Achillea albicaulis
  8. Achillea × albinea
  9. Achillea aleppica
  10. Achillea alexandri-regis
  11. Achillea alpina
  12. Achillea ambrosiaca
  13. Achillea apiculata
  14. Achillea arabica
  15. Achillea armenorum
  16. Achillea asiatica
  17. Achillea asplenifolia
  18. Achillea atrata : Black Yarrow
  19. Achillea aucheri
  20. Achillea auriculata
  21. Achillea baikalensis
  22. Achillea barbeyana
  23. Achillea barrelieri
  24. Achillea biserrata
  25. Achillea boissieri
  26. Achillea brachyphylla
  27. Achillea bucharica
  28. Achillea callichroa
  29. Achillea cappadocica
  30. Achillea carpatica
  31. Achillea chamaecyparissus
  32. Achillea chamaemelifolia
  33. Achillea cheilanthifolia
  34. Achillea chrysocoma
  35. Achillea clavennae : Silvery Yarrow
  36. Achillea clusiana
  37. Achillea clypeolata
  38. Achillea coarctata
  39. Achillea coarctata
  40. Achillea collina
  41. Achillea condensata
  42. Achillea conferta
  43. Achillea cretica
  44. Achillea crithmifolia
  45. Achillea cucullata
  46. Achillea cuneatiloba
  47. Achillea decolorans
  48. Achillea decolorans
  49. Achillea distans : Alps Yarrow
  50. Achillea erba-rotta : Musk Milfoil
  51. Achillea eriophora
  52. Achillea euxina
  53. Achillea falcata
  54. Achillea filipendulina Fernleaf Yarrow
  55. Achillea formosa
  56. Achillea fraasii : Filigree Yarrow
  57. Achillea fragantissima
  58. Achillea glaberrima
  59. Achillea goniocephala
  60. Achillea × graja
  61. Achillea grandifolia
  62. Achillea gypsicola
  63. Achillea haussknechtii
  64. Achillea heterophylla
  65. Achillea holosericea
  66. Achillea horanszkyi
  67. Achillea huber-morathii
  68. Achillea × illiczevski
  69. Achillea impatiens
  70. Achillea incognita
  71. Achillea inundata
  72. Achillea japonica
  73. Achillea karatavica
  74. Achillea kellalensis
  75. Achillea ketenoglui
  76. Achillea kotschyi
  77. Achillea laggeri
  78. Achillea latiloba
  79. Achillea ledebourii
  80. Achillea leptophylla
  81. Achillea leptophylloides
  82. Achillea lereschei
  83. Achillea ligustica : Ligurian Yarrow
  84. Achillea lingulata
  85. Achillea lycaonica
  86. Achillea macrocephala
  87. Achillea macrophylla : Broad-leaved Yarrow
  88. Achillea magna
  89. Achillea magnifica
  90. Achillea maritima
  91. Achillea maura
  92. Achillea membranacea
  93. Achillea micrantha
  94. Achillea micranthoides
  95. Achillea millefolium : Milfoil, Yarrow, Allheal, Thousand-leaf, Bloodwort, Carpenter's Grass, Cammock, Green arrow, Sneezeweed, Nosebleed, Green Adder's Mouth, Soldier's Woundwort, Dog Daisy, Old-man's-pepper
  96. Achillea milliana
  97. Achillea mollis
  98. Achillea monocephala
  99. Achillea multifida
  100. Achillea nana : Dwarf Alpine Yarrow
  101. Achillea nigrescens
  102. Achillea nobilis : Noble Yarrow, Creamy Yarrow
  103. Achillea obscura
  104. Achillea occulta
  105. Achillea ochroleuca
  106. Achillea odorata
  107. Achillea oligocephala
  108. Achillea oxyloba
  109. Achillea oxyodonta
  110. Achillea pachycephala
  111. Achillea phrygia
  112. Achillea pindicola
  113. Achillea pseudoaleppica
  114. Achillea pseudopectinata
  115. Achillea ptarmica : Sneezewort, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort Yarrow
  116. Achillea ptarmicifolia
  117. Achillea ptarmicoides
  118. Achillea pyrenaica
  119. Achillea rhodoptarmica
  120. Achillea roseo-alba
  121. Achillea rupestris
  122. Achillea salicifolia
  123. Achillea santolinoides
  124. Achillea schischkinii
  125. Achillea schmakovii
  126. Achillea schneideri
  127. Achillea schugnanica
  128. Achillea sedelmeyeriana
  129. Achillea seidlii
  130. Achillea sergievskiana
  131. Achillea setacea
  132. Achillea sieheana
  133. Achillea sinensis
  134. Achillea sintenisii
  135. Achillea sipikorensis
  136. Achillea spinulifolia
  137. Achillea squarrosa
  138. Achillea stepposa
  139. Achillea styriaca
  140. Achillea × submicrantha
  141. Achillea × subtaurica
  142. Achillea talagonica
  143. Achillea taygetea
  144. Achillea tenuifolia
  145. Achillea teretifolia
  146. Achillea thracica
  147. Achillea tomentosa : Woolly Yarrow
  148. Achillea tuzsonii
  149. Achillea umbellata
  150. Achillea vermicularis
  151. Achillea virescens
  152. Achillea wilsoniana : Wilson's Yarrow


Silvery Yarrow (Achillea clavenae)
Sweet Yarrow (Achillea ageratum)
Fernleaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendula)


  1. ^ lectotype designated by Green, Prop. Brit. Bot. 182 (1929)
  2. ^ "Achillea". Index Nominum Genericorum. International Association for Plant Taxonomy. 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  3. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 896-897. in Latin
  5. ^ Tropicos, Achillea L.
  6. ^ Flora of North America Achillea Linnaeus
  7. ^ Flora of China Vol. 20-21 Page 759 蓍属 shi shu Achillea Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 896. 1753.
  8. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  9. ^ Jalali, Farnood Shokouhi Sabet; Tajik, Hossein, Hadian, Mojtaba (2010). "Efficacy of topical application of alcoholic extract of yarrow in the healing process of experimental burn wounds in rabbit". Comparative Clinical Pathology. doi:10.1007/s00580-010-1081-7. 
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