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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Yarrow is a perennial herb that can spread both by seed and by means of creeping stems, known as stolons (2). The flowers, which are present from June to September (7) are visited by a huge range of insects (2). The whole plant has a strongly aromatic scent (2). Yarrow was once held in high esteem as a medicinal plant, and has been used to staunch wounds and to ward off illness and bad luck (6). Conversely it was believed to be one of the Devil's herbs, and was used in divination (4). It was also said to cause nosebleeds if a leaf was put into the nostril, and the plant was known as 'nosebleed' in some areas (4). In East Anglia, this property of the plant was employed in order to divine future love; a leaf was placed inside the nose and the following rhyme was recited: 'Yarroway, yarroway, bear a white blow, if my love love me, my nose will bleed now' (4). The leaves and flowers have a bitter, astringent and pungent taste; the alternative common name 'old man's pepper' refers to this quality (7).
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Description

Yarrow is a common herb that has been highly regarded for its medicinal properties in Britain since Anglo-Saxon times (4). The erect stems are woolly and the dense, flattened flower-heads are typically white, but more rarely they may be pink or reddish (2). The leaves are deeply divided, forming many small lobes (5); this feature is referred to by the specific Latin name, millefolium, which means 'thousand leaf' (6). The name of the genus, Achillea is thought to have arisen as it is said that Achilles used this herb to treat the wounds of his soldiers. The common name 'yarrow' derives from the Anglo-Saxon name for the plant, 'gearwe' (7).
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Comprehensive Description

Description

Strongly aromatic perennial herb. Leaves deeply 2-3 pinnate with linear-subulate ultimate segments. Inflorescence terminal, large, branched, flat-topped consisting of numerous small capitula. Capitula white to pale mauve-lilac. Some cultivated hybrids have other colour forms.
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Comments

Among members of the Aster family, the fern-like foliage of Yarrow is rather unusual and it has a distinctive odor. Other members of the Aster family with this kind of foliage include Anthemis spp. (Mayweed), Matricaria spp. (Chamomile), and Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy). Unlike Yarrow, species of Mayweed and Chamomile produce daisy-like flowerheads with long petaloid rays. Tansy is a larger plant with medium to dark green foliage. While its flowerheads have a similar size and structure as compared to those of Yarrow, they are bright yellow and their petaloid rays are even smaller in size or absent.
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Description

This perennial wildflower is about 1-2' tall. It is unbranched, except near the apex, where the flowerheads occur. The central stem is pale green and more or less covered with white cobwebby hairs. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 1" across, becoming slightly smaller as they ascend the stems. Each fern-like leaf is pale to medium green, elliptic in outline, and widest in the middle – however, its structure is either simple-pinnate or double-pinnate and its overlapping leaflets are either simple-pinnate or pinnatifid. The leaves and sometimes their leaflets (when they are simple-pinnate) are upward-angled along their rachises (central stalks), while pinnatifid leaflets and subleaflets are either curled, crinkled, or flat. Like the stems, the leaves and their subdivisions often have fine cobwebby hairs. The leaves are sessile.  The upper stems produce flat-headed panicles (compound corymbs) of small flowerheads. Each flowerhead is about ¼" across, consisting of 5 ray florets (their petaloid rays are white, rarely rose or other pastel colors) and a similar number of disk florets that have cream or pale yellow corollas. The petaloid rays are often slightly notched at their tips. The floral bracts (phyllaries) are pale green and lanceolate-oblong; they often have cobwebby hairs. All parts of this plant exude a distinctive aroma that is somewhat soapy and astringent. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer and lasts about a month. Each floret is replaced by an achene that is oblong and somewhat flattened; it lacks a tuft of hairs. The root system produces abundant rhizomes, often forming clonal colonies of plants. Cultivation
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Cultivated, Native of Mediterranean Region"
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Herb Distribution notes: Exotic
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Palynology

Achillea millefolium has pollen classified as trizonocolporate, with a lacunate aperture and echinate sculpturing. (Meo & Khan, 2003.)

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General Description

Achillea millefolium was first described by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1853.

A. millefolium is a perennial herb that usually spreads via rhizome. It is characterized by feathered leaves, proximally petiolate and distally sessile, that gradually reduce in size as they approach the apex of the plant. The ray flowers can range from white to pink to dark purple, but the disc flowers are always white or grayish white. It has a variety of ploidy levels, from 2n = 18 to 2n = 72. Because of its huge degree of variability, it has often been treated as several distinct species or as one species with several varieties. It has one of the most expansive ranges, growing in virtually every corner of North America. This may be due to its ability to tolerate meadows and woodlands, dry or damp soils, and to accomodate altitudes from sea level to 3600 m. In fact, much observable variation in A. millefolium can be contributed to environmental differences.

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Description

General: Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). Common yarrow is a perennial herb that produces one to several stems (2-10 dm tall) from a fibrous underground horizontal rootstock (rhizome). It is known to be both native and introduced. Leaves are evenly distributed along the stem, with the leaves near the middle and bottom of the stem being the largest. The leaves have varying degrees of hairiness (pubescence). Leaf blades are lanceolate in outline, but bipinnately dissected. Overall leaf dimensions range from 0.5-3 cm wide by 3-15 cm long. The flower heads (inflorescence) have a flattened dome shape corymbiform (2.5-4 mm thick by 4-5 mm high) with approximately 10-20 ray flowers. The flowers are whitish to yellowish-white. The plant commonly persists from May through June.

Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Habitat: The plant is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

Milfoil

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

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Distribution

Worldwide distribution

Native to Europe and W Asia; introduced in many other countries.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Yarrow is a common plant that has naturalized in all counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map). The variety of Yarrow that occurs in Illinois is probably native to Eurasia, although there is a variety of this plant that is native to western North America. This latter variety tends to be smaller in size and its foliage is more heavily covered with woolly hairs. Habitats include mesic to dry prairies, pastures, fallow fields, grassy waste areas, and edges of paths, yards, or hedges. Disturbed areas are preferred; Yarrow persists in native habitats (e.g., prairies) to a limited extent. Yarrow is often cultivated in flower and herbal gardens, from which it occasionally escapes. Faunal Associations
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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"
Global Distribution

Temperate zones of northern hemisphere

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Idukki

"
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"Kerala: Idukki Tamil Nadu: Dindigul, Nilgiri"
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More info for the term: adventitious

Western yarrow is circumboreal. In North America, it occurs in every state, province, and in Mexico [19,33]. It is adventitious in Hawaii [62].
  • 19. Clausen, Jens; Keck, David D.; Hiesey, William M. 1948. Experimental studies on the nature of species. III: Environmental responses of climatic races of Achillea. Publication 581; Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington. 129 p. [648]
  • 33. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 62. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

 1  Northern Pacific Border

 2  Cascade Mountains

 3  Southern Pacific Border

 4  Sierra Mountains

 5  Columbia Plateau

 6  Upper Basin and Range

 7  Lower Basin and Range

 8  Northern Rocky Mountains

 9  Middle Rocky Mountains

10  Wyoming Basin

11  Southern Rocky Mountains

12  Colorado Plateau

13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont

14  Great Plains

15  Black Hills Uplift

16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Occurrence in North America

AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  FL 
GA  

HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME 
MD  

MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  MT  NE  NM  NV 
NH  

NJ  NY  NC  ND  OH  OK  OR  PA  RI 
SC  

SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  WA  WV  WI 
WY

DC  PR

AB  BC  MB  NB  NF  NT  ON  PQ  SK 
SK  

YT

Mexico

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Achillea millefolium spans the entire continental U.S. (including Alaska) and every Canadian province.

For more information, see the map above provided by Flora of North America. (Trock, 2006.)

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Range

This very common plant occurs throughout the British Isles (5). Elsewhere it is found in Europe and western Asia, and has been introduced to North America, Australia and New Zealand (2).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: duff, forb

Western yarrow is a perennial forb 11 to 40 inches (30-100 cm) in height with extensive rhizomes. It has few to numerous erect stems. The basal rosette of leaves may remain green throughout the winter [43]. Plants grow in a somewhat scattered fashion and seldom form pure stands in areas larger than 5 square meters [69]. Typical European Achillea millefolium is hexaploid with flat leaves. Native forms are mostly tetraploid, with narrow leaf-segments disposed in various planes so that the leaf is 3-dimensional [33].

McLean [49] reported that in a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest zone in British Columbia, the fibrous roots and rhizomes of yarrow grew mostly in the duff layer or between it and the mineral soil.

  • 33. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 43. Johnson, James R.; Nichols, James T. 1970. Plants of South Dakota grasslands: A photographic study. Bull. 566. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 163 p. [18500]
  • 49. McLean, Alastair. 1968. Fire resistance of forest species as influenced by root systems. Journal of Range Management. 22: 120-122. [1621]
  • 69. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387]

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Description

Perennials, 6–65+ cm (usually rhizomatous, sometimes stoloniferous). Stems 1(–4), erect, simple or branched, densely lanate-tomentose to glabrate. Leaves petiolate (proximally) or sessile (distally, weakly clasping and gradually reduced); blades oblong or lanceolate, 3.5–35+ cm × 5–35 mm, 1–2-pinnately lobed (ultimate lobes ± lanceolate, often arrayed in multiple planes), faces glabrate to sparsely tomentose or densely lanate. Heads 10–100+, in simple or compound, corymbiform arrays. Phyllaries 20–30 in ± 3 series, (light green, midribs dark green to yellowish, margins green to light or dark brown) ovate to lanceolate, abaxial faces tomentose. Receptacles convex; paleae lanceolate, 1.5–4 mm. Ray florets (3–)5–8, pistillate, fertile; corollas white or light pink to deep purple, laminae 1.5–3 × 1.5–3 mm. Disc florets 10–20; corollas white to grayish white, 2–4.5 mm. Cypselae 1–2 mm (margins broadly winged). 2n = 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72 (including counts from Europe).
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Description

Erect, up to 1 m tall, basally woody shrublet with obtuse-angled, punctate-glandulose, woolly pilose twigs. Leaves long-petiolate, green, homomorphic, cauline akin to basal, laxly to densely long soft hairy, linear-lanceolate to oblong, up to 20 x 1 – 4 cm, smaller above, punctate-glandulose, 2–3-pinnatisect, rachis 0.4 – 1.5 mm wide; primary segments numerous, linear to linear-lanceolate; ultimate segments narrowly linear filiform, 0.2 – 0.5 (-1) mm wide, cartilaginous mucronate. Capitula 5 – 6 mm across, up to 150 or sometimes more, on 2 – 5 mm long peduncles, in 5 – 15 cm broad compound corymbs. Involucre oblong to ovoid, 4.5 – 5 x 2.5 – 4 mm, basally rotundate, phyllaries oblong to lanceolate, ± acute to obtuse and laciniate, rarely carinate, pink to brownish scarious on margins. Paleae whitish membranous, with green midrib, lanceolate, obtuse and ± fimbriate, upwards pilose. Ray-florets 4 – 6, with whitish or pale-white, 3-lobed, 1.5 – 2.5 x 1.5 – 3 mm, reflexed limb. Disc-florets 10 – 20, with 2 – 3 mm long, 5-toothed corolla tube. Cypselas oblong, ± flattened, c. 2.5 mm long, glaucous-glabrous, epappose.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Erect herb. Leaves alternate, linear to lanceolate, 2-3-pinnatifid, to 12 x 2.5 cm at the base. Corymbs terminal, to 10 cm wide. Capitula numerous, radiate; peduncle 4 mm. Involucre oblong. Phyllaries several-seriate, lanceolate. Receptacle convex. Outer ray florets pistillate, c. 6, rose; ligule 3-toothed. Inner disk florets bisexual. Achenes compressed. Pappus 0."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Synonym

Achillea alpicola (Rydberg) Rydberg; A. arenicola A. Heller; A. borealis Bongard subsp. arenicola (A. Heller) D. D. Keck; A. borealis subsp. californica (Pollard) D. D. Keck; A. californica Pollard; A. gigantea Pollard; A. lanulosa Nuttall; A. lanulosa subsp. alpicola (Rydberg) D. D. Keck; A. laxiflora Pollard & Cockerell; A. megacephala Raup; A. millefolium var. alpicola (Rydberg) Garrett; A. millefolium var. arenicola (A. Heller) Nobs; A. millefolium var. asplenifolia (Ventenat) Farwell; A. millefolium subsp. borealis (Bongard) Breitung; A. millefolium var. borealis (Bongard) Farwell; A. millefolium var. californica (Pollard) Jepson; A. millefolium var. gigantea (Pollard) Nobs; A. millefolium subsp. lanulosa (Nuttall) Piper; A. millefolium var. lanulosa (Nuttall) Piper; A. millefolium var. litoralis Ehrendorfer ex Nobs; A. millefolium var. maritima Jepson; A. millefolium var. megacephala (Raup) B. Boivin; A. millefolium var. nigrescens E. Meyer; A. millefolium var. occidentalis de Candolle; A. millefolium var. pacifica (Rydberg) G. N. Jones; A. millefolium var. puberula (Rydberg) Nobs; A. nigrescens (E. Meyer) Rydberg; A. occidentalis (de Candolle) Rafinesque ex Rydberg; A. pacifica Rydberg; A. puberula Rydberg; A. rosea Desfontaines; A. subalpina Greene
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Type Information

Isotype for Achillea eradiata Piper
Catalog Number: US 1243262
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. C. Nelson
Year Collected: 1919
Locality: E end of Pamelia Lake, foot of Mt. Jefferson., Oregon, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 1219 to 1219
  • Isotype: Piper, C. V. 1920. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 33: 105.
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Type fragment for Achillea arenicola A. Heller
Catalog Number: US 416645
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. A. Heller
Year Collected: 1902
Locality: Bodega Bay., Sonoma, California, United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Heller, A. A. 1904. Muhlenbergia. 1: 61.
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Isotype for Achillea palmeri Rydb.
Catalog Number: US 397879
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1902
Locality: Saltillo., Coahuila, Mexico, North America
  • Isotype: Rydberg, P. A. 1916. N. Amer. Fl. 34: 221.
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Look Alikes

The feathered leaves of Achillea millefolium resemble those of Anthemis cotula (mayweed chamomile), Matricaria discoidea (pineapple weed) and Daucus carota (wild carrot), though all can easily be distinguished by their blooms. (Calhoun, 2010.) Conversely, the flowers of A. millefolium are easily confused with those of Lepidium latifolium (perennial pepperweed) and Cardaria draba (hoary cress). The highly divided leaves of A. millefolium allow for distinction from these look-alikes. (Donaldson, 2004.)

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Yarrow is a common plant that has naturalized in all counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map). The variety of Yarrow that occurs in Illinois is probably native to Eurasia, although there is a variety of this plant that is native to western North America. This latter variety tends to be smaller in size and its foliage is more heavily covered with woolly hairs. Habitats include mesic to dry prairies, pastures, fallow fields, grassy waste areas, and edges of paths, yards, or hedges. Disturbed areas are preferred; Yarrow persists in native habitats (e.g., prairies) to a limited extent. Yarrow is often cultivated in flower and herbal gardens, from which it occasionally escapes. Faunal Associations
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General Habitat

Along roadsides
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Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

101  Bluebunch Wheatgrass

102  Idaho Fescue

103  Green Fescue 

104  Antelope Bitterbrush-Bluegrass Wheatgrass

105  Antelope Bitterbrush-Idaho Fescue

107  Western Juniper-Big Sagebrush

109  Ponderosa pine shrubland

110  Ponderosa Pine-Grassland

204  North Coastal Shrub

309  Idaho Fescue-Western Wheatgrass

315  Big Sagebrush-Idaho Fescue

316  Big Sagebrush-Rough Fescue

317  Bitterbrush-Bluebunch Wheatgrass

323  Shrubby Cinquefoil-Rough Fescue

401  Basin Big Sagebrush

402  Mountain Big Sagebrush

409  Tall Forb

411  Aspen Woodland

413  Gambel Oak

608  Wheatgrass-Grama-Needlegrass

610  Wheatgrass

613  Fescue Grassland

805  Riparian

910  Hairgrass

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K011  Western ponderosa forest

K012  Douglas-fir forest

K015  Western spruce-fir forest

K016  Eastern ponderosa forest

K018  Pine-Douglas-fir forest

K019  Arizona pine forest

K021  Southwestern spruce-fir forest

K023  Juniper-pinyon woodland

K037  Mountain mahogany-oak scrub

K038  Great Basin sagebrush

K040  Saltbush-greasewood

K049  Tule marshes

K051  Wheatgrass-bluegrass

K052  Alpine meadows and barren

K055  Sagebrush steppe

K056  Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe

K063  Foothills prairie

K064  Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass

K065  Grama-buffalograss

K066  Wheatgrass-needlegrass

K067  Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

K070  Sandsage-bluestem prairie

K074  Bluestem prairie

K098  Northern floodplain forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES17  Elm-ash-cottonwood

FRES20  Douglas-fir

FRES21  Ponderosa pine

FRES23  Fir-spruce

FRES29  Sagebrush

FRES30  Desert shrub

FRES34  Chaparral-mountain shrub

FRES35  Pinyon-juniper

FRES36  Mountain grasslands

FRES38  Plains grasslands

FRES39  Prairie

FRES41  Wet grasslands

FRES44  Alpine:

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Key Plant Community Associations

Western yarrow occurs in a variety of plant communities across its wide distribution.
It is not usually a community dominant [39,54].
  • 39. Hironaka, M.; Fosberg, M. A.; Winward, A. H. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Bulletin Number 35. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 44 p. [1152]
  • 54. Mueggler, Walter F.; Campbell, Robert B., Jr. 1986. Aspen community types of Utah. Res. Pap. INT-362. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 69 p. [1714]

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

210  Interior Douglas-fir forest

216  Blue spruce

217  Aspen

218  Lodgepole pine

219  Limber pine

237  Interior ponderosa pine

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Habitat characteristics

Western yarrow usually occupies dry, open sites in a variety of habitats across its range including sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)-grassland, canyon bottoms, glades, roadsides, and vacant lots. It is prevalent in brushlands, quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), open timber, and subalpine zones. It is intolerant of dense shade. It is common on thin soils and sandy gravelly loam on open flats, parks, and dry meadows [69]. The elevational distribution in several western states is as follows [19]:

Colorado: 4,000-12,000 feet (1220-3660 m)
Montana: 2,400-10,000 feet ( 730-3050 m)
Utah: 4,300-10,300 feet (1210-3040 m)
Wyoming: 4,600-11,000 feet (1400-3350 m)
  • 19. Clausen, Jens; Keck, David D.; Hiesey, William M. 1948. Experimental studies on the nature of species. III: Environmental responses of climatic races of Achillea. Publication 581; Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington. 129 p. [648]
  • 69. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387]

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A. millefolium occupies many diverse habitats, including sunny pastures, meadows and roadsides with dry soils, stream sides and waste grounds with sandy or salty soils, and damp woodlands with clay soils. (Trock, 2006.) There is, however, some morphological variation (eco-morphotypes or ecotypes) among the species that is dependent on its habitat.

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Grows in most types of grassland habitat, including coastal sand dunes, lawns, road verges, waste ground and montane grasslands. It grows in all types of soil, save for the most nutrient poor, and is drought tolerant (3).
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© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

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Dispersal

Establishment

Common yarrow is a drought tolerant species of which there are several different ornamental cultivars. Plant the seeds no more than ¼ inch deep due to the need of light for germination. The seeds also require a temperature range of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Common yarrow responds best to soil that is poorly developed and well drained. The plant has a relatively short life. To prolong the life of the plant, divide the plant every other year and plant 12-18 inches apart. Common yarrow is a weedy species and can become invasive. Proper care should be used to control the spread of the plant from its desired growing location.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Yarrow in Illinois

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) introduced
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen; flies and beetles suck nectar or feed on pollen; other insects suck nectar; some observations are from Graenicher, Reed, Grundel & Pavlovic, Krombein et al., Mawdsley, and Swengel & Swengel as indicated below, otherwise they are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus cp; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina sp. (Re), Ceratina dupla dupla sn cp (Gr); Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada cuneatus sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile centuncularis sn cp (Gr), Megachile petulans cp

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon texanus texanus (Re), Agapostemon virescens (Re), Augochlorella striata sn cp (Gr), Halictus (or Lasioglossum) sp. sn cp (Gr), Halictus confusus (Re), Halictus ligatus sn cp (Rb, Gr, Re), Lasioglossum cressonii sn cp (Gr), Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp (Gr), Lasioglossum pectoralis (Re), Lasioglossum perpunctatus (Re), Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp (Rb, Gr), Lasioglossum tegularis sn cp (Gr), Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq (Rb, Gr), Paralictus simplex sn; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus mesillae sn (Gr, Kr), Hylaeus modestus modestus sn (Gr, Kr), Hylaeus saniculae (Kr); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena integra (Kr), Andrena miranda (Kr), Andrena nigrifrons (Kr); Andrenidae (Panurginae): Calliopsis andreniformis (Kr)

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Anacrabro ocellatus (Gr), Ectemnius continuus (Re), Ectemnius dives (Gr), Ectemnius lapidarius (Gr), Ectemnius maculosus (Gr), Ectemnius rufifemur, Ectemnius trifasciatus (Gr), Oxybelus emarginatus, Oxybelus mexicanus, Oxybelus niger (Gr), Oxybelus packardii, Oxybelus uniglumis (Gr); Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris clypeata (Gr), Cerceris compacta, Cerceris rufinoda, Philanthus bilunatus (Gr), Philanthus politus (Re); Gasteruptiidae: Gasteruption assectator (Gr); Leucospididae: Leucospis affinis (Gr); Perilampidae: Perilampus hyalinus (Gr, Re); Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus (Gr), Eumenes fraterna (Gr), Euodynerus foraminatus, Parancistrocerus fulvipes, Parancistrocerus pensylvanicus (Gr), Symmorphus cristatus (Gr)

Flies
Tabanidae: Chrysops striatus sn; Nemestrinidae: Neorhynchocephalus sackenii sn; Empididae: Rhamphomyia sp. sn (Gr); Stratiomyidae: Hedriodiscus vertebrata (Gr), Nemotelus nigrinus (Gr), Odontomyia cincta (Gr), Odontomyia virgo (Gr), Stratiomys normula (Gr), Stratiomys obesa (Re); Bombyliidae: Ogcodocera leucoprocta sn, Toxophora amphitea sn; Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua sn (Rb, Gr), Epistrophe xanthostoma (Gr), Eristalinus aeneus sn, Eristalis arbustorum sn (Rb, Gr), Eristalis barda (Re), Eristalis brousii (Gr), Eristalis dimidiatus sn, Eristalis tenax sn (Rb, Gr), Eristalis transversus sn (Rb, Gr), Eupeodes americanus sn (Rb, Gr), Helophilus chrysostomus (Gr), Mallota bautias sn, Orthonevra nitida sn, Paragus tibialis sn, Sphaerophoria contiqua sn (Rb, Gr), Syritta pipiens sn (Rb, Gr), Syrphus ribesii sn, Toxomerus geminatus (Gr), Toxomerus marginatus sn (Rb, Gr, Re); Conopidae: Physoconops brachyrhynchus sn, Thecophora abbreviata (Gr), Thecophora occidensis sn; Tachinidae: Archytas analis sn (Rb, Gr), Cylindromyia carolinae (Gr), Epigrimyia polita sn (Rb, Gr), Gymnosoma fuliginosus sn, Gymnoclytia immaculata sn (Rb, Gr), Gymnoclytia occidua sn, Periscepsia laevigata sn; Sarcophagidae: Helicobia rapax sn (Rb, Gr), Ravinia anxia sn, Sarcophaga spp. (Gr), Senotainia rubriventris sn, Sphixapata trilineata sn; Calliphoridae: Lucilia sp. (Gr), Lucilia illustris (Gr), Phormia regina (Gr), Pollenia rudis (Gr); Muscidae: Graphomya maculata (Gr), Helina evecta (Gr), Morellia micans (Gr), Neomyia cornicina sn; Anthomyiidae: Anthomyia sp. (Gr), Calythea pratincola (Gr), Delia platura sn (Rb, Gr); Fanniidae: Fannia manicata sn; Sepsidae: Themira putris (Gr); Lauxaniidae: Camptoprosopella vulgaris sn

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Limenitis arthemis astyanax (Gr), Phyciodes tharos (Re); Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis fq (GP, Sw), Satyrium calanus (Gr), Satyrium edwardsii (Re)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Euphyes vestris (Re)

Moths
Pterophoridae: Geina tenuidactylus (Gr), Emmelina monodactyla (Gr)

Beetles
Cerambycidae: Euderces picipes (Gr); Cleridae: Trichodes apivorus (Gr), Trichodes nutalli (Mwd); Mordellidae: Mordella melaena sn, Mordellistena comata (Gr); Scarabaeidae: Trichiotinus piger (Gr)

Plant Bugs
Lygaeidae: Lygaeus turcicus (Gr), Neacoryphus bicrucis (Gr); Miridae: Adelphocoris rapidus (Gr), Cimex ruficornis (Gr), Lygus lineolaris (Gr)

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Plant / associate
adult of Bruchidius villosus is associated with flower of Achillea millefolium

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal adult of Chrysolina marginata grazes on live leaf of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: early 8-mid 11,4-

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Chrysolina staphylaea grazes on live leaf of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: early 7-late 10,4-

Foodplant / saprobe
scattered, covered, dark brown pycnidium of Diplodina coelomycetous anamorph of Diplodina millefolii is saprobic on dead stem of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: 3

Foodplant / gall
larva of Dithryca guttularis causes gall of stem (base) of Achillea millefolium
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
sorus of Entyloma achilleae parasitises live leaf of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: 8

Foodplant / parasite
Golovinomyces cichoracearum parasitises live Achillea millefolium

Plant / resting place / within
larva of Haplothrips propinquus may be found in live flower of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: 1,3,7-9

Animal / pathogen
Rhizoctonia anamorph of Helicobasidium purpureum infects root of Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / miner
larva of Liriomyza flavopicta mines stem (upper) of Achillea millefolium
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / miner
larva of Liriomyza hampsteadensis mines Achillea millefolium
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / miner
larva of Liriomyza ptarmicae mines leaf of Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / sap sucker
adult of Megalocoleus molliculus sucks sap of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: early 7-9

Plant / resting place / within
puparium of Melanagromyza dettmeri may be found in stem of Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / feeds on
Microplontus triangulum feeds on Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Olibrus millefolii feeds on Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / parasite
underground tuber of Orobanche purpurea parasitises root of Achillea millefolium
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
Orthocephalus coriaceus feeds on Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / gall
larva of Oxyna flavipennis causes gall of root of Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / saprobe
loosely gregarious, sometimes linearly arranged, covered then projecting pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis achilleae var. achilleae is saprobic on dead stem of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: 8-11

Foodplant / miner
larva of Phytomyza pullula mines leaf of Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / sap sucker
adult of Plagiognathus chrysanthemi sucks sap of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: late 6-9(10)

Foodplant / parasite
amphigenous telium of Puccinia cnici-oleracei parasitises live leaf of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: 7-11
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
numerous, crowded, sometimes confluent, seriate, glabrous, black, covered then erumpent pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria millefolii is saprobic on dead stem of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: season: 4

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Trichosirocalus barnevillei feeds on Achillea millefolium

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Trupanea amoena feeds within capitulum of Achillea millefolium
Remarks: Other: uncertain

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Achillea millefolium is a source of nectar for many species of flies, wasps and a few bees. Some grasshoppers, aphids, beetles and caterpillars may feed on it.

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© Hamilton, Hayley

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Diseases and Parasites

Diseases

Achillea millefolium is subject to powdery mildew, root and stem rot.

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Population Biology

Frequency

Rare
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: succession

Western yarrow's good sprouting ability, high germination percentages, and competitive seedlings result in a remarkable persistence under fire disturbance. Western yarrow often appears in the first stages of succession [15,63]; however, no consistent trends relative to age of burns seem evident for the western yarrow [4,57].

Western yarrow has low ignitability, and can be used as a fire barrier, created by replacing highly flammable vegetation with species that are less likely to burn [41]. Planting less-flammable vegetation in fire-prone areas, or around property and fire-sensitive areas, may help prevent ignition or slow fire spread [40].
  • 4. Anderson, Kling L.; Smith, Ed F.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1970. Burning bluestem range. Journal of Range Management. 23: 81-92. [323]
  • 15. Bourdot, G. W.; Field, R. J.; White, J. G. H. 1985. Growth analysis of Achillea millefolium L. (yarrow) in the presence and ansence of a competitor--Hordeum vulgare L. (barley). New Phytologist. 101: 507-519. [3052]
  • 40. Hogenbirk, J. C.; Sarrazin-Delay, C. L. 1995. Using fuel characteristics to estimate plant ignitability for fire hazard reduction. Water, Air and Soil Pollution. 82: 161-170. [26985]
  • 41. Howe, Henry F. 1994. Response of early- and late-flowering plants to fire season in experimental prairies. Ecolgical Applications. 4(1): 121-133. [27810]
  • 57. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]
  • 63. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 10 p. [20090]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: competition, cover, fire use, frequency, mixed-severity fire, prescribed fire, restoration, rhizome, severity, shrub, tree

The initial surge of western yarrow is probably caused by
extensive rhizome sprouting; mineral soil exposure and the
resulting favorable seedbed; less competition from tree,
grass and shrub cover; and nutrient release [28,53].

A burn was conducted each April for at least 24 years on a
rough fescue (Festuca scabrella) grassland in a
quaking aspen parkland in east-central Alberta. Average
frequency and canopy cover for western yarrow were as
follows [3]:
%
Frequency              
%
Cover              

burned 
unburned         burned  
unburned

36        
23                  
3.0         1.1

Density and crown area of western yarrow
(per 180,000 in2)following an August wildfire
of moderate severity in a northeastern California range
dominated by bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata)
and various perennial bunchgrasses were as follows [23]:
                            
Number of plants     Crown area (in2)

Unburned plots     
99                            
153

postfire yr
1            
3                             
29

postfire yr
2            
9                           
101

postfire yr 3          
88                           
531

postfire yr 4         
269                          
252

postfire yr 5           
48                        
1391

Productivity values (kg/ha) of western yarrow before and after
a late August fire in western Wyoming quaking aspen communities
are listed below for plots of different burn intensities [9]:
Before burning:  14 kg/ha 

After a "light" burn:  40 kg/ha 

After a "moderate" burn:  16 kg/ha 

After a "heavy" burn:  14 kg/ha

On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, western yarrow cover
and frequency were higher on sites that had been burned 4 years previously than on thinned,
thinned-and-burned, or control sites. Western yarrow was determined to be
an indicator species for burned sites (P≤0.05). For further information on the effects of thinning and burning
treatments on western yarrow and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary of Youngblood and others' [50] study.
For further information on prescribed fire use and western yarrow response to fire, see Fire Case Studies,
Lyon's Research Paper (Lyon 1966),
Hamilton's Research Paper
(Hamilton 2006b), and the following Research Project Summaries:
  • 3. Anderson, Howard G.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1980. Effects of annual burning on grassland in the aspen parkland of east-central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 985-996. [3499]
  • 9. Bartos, D. L.; Mueggler, W. F. 1981. Early succession in aspen communities following fire in western Wyoming. Journal of Range Management. 34(4): 315-318. [5100]
  • 23. Countryman, Clive M.; Cornelius, Donald R. 1957. Some effects of fire on a perennial range type. Journal of Range Management. 10: 39-41. [699]
  • 28. Eichhorn, Larry C.; Watts, C. Robert. 1984. Plant succession on burns in the river breaks of central Montana. Proceedings, Montana Academy of Science. 43: 21-34. [15478]
  • 50. Merrill, Evelyn H.; Mayland, Henry F.; Peek, James M. 1980. Effects of a fall wildfire on herbaceous vegetation on xeric sites in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho. Journal of Range Management. 33(5): 363-367. [1642]
  • 53. Mueggler, Walter F. 1976. Ecological role of fire in western woodland and range ecosystems. In: Use of prescribed burning in western woodland and range ecosystems: Proceedings of the symposium; 1976 March 18-19; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station: 1-9. [1709]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, frequency

Fire results in fragmentation of western yarrow's rhizomes stimulating regeneration [15]. Cover and frequency of western yarrow generally increase 1 to 2 years after fire but not with any consistent pattern [4,13,14,32,40,56,71]. After initially increasing in cover, western yarrow may decrease to unburned levels as early as 3 years after fire [17,37,65,75]. Production doubled within 3 to 4 years postfire near Missoula, Montana [6] and other ponderosa pine/mountain grassland ecosystems [32,69]. In another study of fire effects in ponderosa pine, western yarrow increased by 0.37 stem/m in 6 years, a negligible amount [55].

Western yarrow is responsive to season of burning. Late spring burning usually reduces western yarrow [4,12,66].

  • 4. Anderson, Kling L.; Smith, Ed F.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1970. Burning bluestem range. Journal of Range Management. 23: 81-92. [323]
  • 6. Antos, Joseph A.; McCune, Bruce; Bara, Cliff. 1983. The effect of fire on an ungrazed western Montana grassland. The American Midland Naturalist. 110(2): 354-364. [337]
  • 12. Bidwell, Terrence G.; Engle, David M.; Claypool, P. Larry. 1990. Effects of spring headfires and backfires on tallgrass prairie. Journal of Range Management. 43(3): 209-212. [11141]
  • 13. Blaisdell, James P. 1953. Ecological effects of planned burning of sagebrush-grass range on the Upper Snake River Plains. Tech. Bull. 1975. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 39 p. [462]
  • 14. Bork, Edward; Smith, Darrell; Willoughby, Michael. 1996. Prescribed burning of bog birch. Rangelands. 18(1): 4-7. [26567]
  • 15. Bourdot, G. W.; Field, R. J.; White, J. G. H. 1985. Growth analysis of Achillea millefolium L. (yarrow) in the presence and ansence of a competitor--Hordeum vulgare L. (barley). New Phytologist. 101: 507-519. [3052]
  • 17. Brown, James K.; DeByle, Norbert V. 1989. Effects of prescribed fire on biomass and plant succession in western aspen. Res. Pap. INT-412. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 16 p. [9286]
  • 32. Gibson, David J.; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1987. Effects of fire, topography and year-to-year climatic variation on species composition in tallgrass prairie. Vegetatio. 72: 175-185. [3866]
  • 37. Higgins, Kenneth F.; Kruse, Arnold D.; Piehl, James L. 1989. Effects of fire in the Northern Great Plains. Ext. Circ. EC-761. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Cooperative Extension Service, South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. 47 p. [14749]
  • 40. Hogenbirk, J. C.; Sarrazin-Delay, C. L. 1995. Using fuel characteristics to estimate plant ignitability for fire hazard reduction. Water, Air and Soil Pollution. 82: 161-170. [26985]
  • 55. Oswald, Brian P.; Covington, W. Wallace. 1984. Effect of a prescribed fire on herbage production in southwestern ponderosa pine on sedimentary soils. Forest Science. 30(1): 22-25. [2805]
  • 56. Raper, Bob; Clark, Bob; Matthews, Marion; Aldrich, Ann. 1985. Early effects of a fall burn on a western Wyoming mountain big sagebrush-grass community. In: Sanders, Ken; Durham, Jack, eds. Rangeland fire effects: Proceedings of a symposium; 1984 November 27-29; Boise, ID. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Office: 88-92. [1938]
  • 65. Swan, Frederick R., Jr. 1970. Post-fire response of four plant communities in south-central New York state. Ecology. 51(6): 1074-1082. [3446]
  • 66. Tester, John R. 1996. Effects of fire frequency on plant species in oak savanna in east-central Minnesota. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 123(4): 304-308. [28035]
  • 69. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387]
  • 71. Vogl, Richard J.; Ryder, Calvin. 1969. Effects of slash burning on conifer reproduction in Montana's Mission Range. Northwest Science. 43(3): 135-147. [8546]
  • 75. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p. [2620]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Western yarrow's rhizomes and mycorrhizae are usually only slightly damaged by fire [10,38,60], although western yarrow is susceptible to fire-kill and reduction by severe fire [51].

Western yarrow is not highly flammable. Out of 14 species commonly found in boreal forests, western yarrow has the lowest potential ignitability based on chemical characteristics measured on live stem, live leaf and dead leaf tissues. These rankings rely primarily on total ash, silica-free ash and energy content [40]. Ignitability is measured as time to ignition.

  • 10. Berch, Shannon M.; Gamiet, Sharmin; Deom, Elisabeth. 1988. Mycorrhizal status of some plants of southwestern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Botany. 66: 1924-1928. [8841]
  • 38. Higgins, S. S.; Mack, R. N. 1987. Comparative responses of Achillea millefolium ecotypes to competition and soil type. Oecologia. 73: 591-597. [3271]
  • 40. Hogenbirk, J. C.; Sarrazin-Delay, C. L. 1995. Using fuel characteristics to estimate plant ignitability for fire hazard reduction. Water, Air and Soil Pollution. 82: 161-170. [26985]
  • 51. Mitchell, Jerry M. 1984. Fire management action plan: Zion National Park, Utah. Record of Decision. 73 p. Report on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [17278]
  • 60. Smith, Michael A.; Busby, Fee. 1981. Prescribed burning: effective control of sagebrush in Wyoming. RJ-165. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 12 p. [2175]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: rhizome

Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire interval, rhizome

The life cycle of western yarrow in grasslands is completed by the onset of the summer drought and fire season in July [6]. Following fire, regeneration is from rapid rhizome spread [72] and wind dispersal of seeds onto burned sites from adjacent unburned areas [41].

Western yarrow occurs in plant communities with a variety of FIRE REGIMES. The range of fire intervals reported for some species that dominate communities where western yarrow occurs are listed below. To learn more about the FIRE REGIMES in these communities, refer to the FEIS summary for that species, under "FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS."

Community dominant        Range of fire interval (yr)                                             interior ponderosa pine   20-42    (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum) Rocky Mt. Douglas-fir     10-30    (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) quaking aspen             7-10    (Populus tremuloides)             rough fescue              5-10    (Festuca altaica)
  • 6. Antos, Joseph A.; McCune, Bruce; Bara, Cliff. 1983. The effect of fire on an ungrazed western Montana grassland. The American Midland Naturalist. 110(2): 354-364. [337]
  • 41. Howe, Henry F. 1994. Response of early- and late-flowering plants to fire season in experimental prairies. Ecolgical Applications. 4(1): 121-133. [27810]
  • 72. Volland, Leonard A.; Dell, John D. 1981. Fire effects on Pacific Northwest forest and range vegetation. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Range Management and Aviation and Fire Management. 23 p. [2434]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, competition, succession

Western yarrow is a pioneer species everywhere it is found [1]. It is an invader species on disturbed rangeland sites. Western yarrow also appears to be tolerant of competition but not tolerant of excessive shade. It is usually present in the earliest stages of vegetation development and persists throughout succession [42]. It dominates on overgrazed high summer ranges, where the undisturbed climax vegetation would be made up of wheatgrasses (Triticeae) [69].
  • 1. Agee, James K. 1996. Fire in the Blue Mountains: a history, ecology, and research agenda. In: Jaindl, R. G.; Quigley, T. M., eds. Search for a solution: sustaining the land, people and economy of the Blue Mountains. Washington, DC: American Forests: 119-145. [28827]
  • 42. Humphrey, L. David. 1984. Patterns and mechanisms of plant succession after fire on Artemisia-grass sites in southeastern Idaho. Vegetatio. 57: 91-101. [1214]
  • 69. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: rhizome

Western yarrow regenerates from fragments of rhizomes and from colonization through short-distance (1-2 m) wind dispersal of seeds [15,47,61]. In disturbed soils, fragmented rhizomes regenerate shoots which can emerge from soil depths as great as 12 inches (30 cm). In undisturbed soil the rhizomes remain attached to the parent plant, forming new plants at the rhizome apices [15].

The fruit is a small achenes weighing about 0.17 mg. They are produced in large numbers. Several thousand achenes may be produced per flowering stem. The viability of freshly shed seeds exceeds 90%. Western yarrow seed showed 41% germination after 9 years in dry storage [15].

  • 15. Bourdot, G. W.; Field, R. J.; White, J. G. H. 1985. Growth analysis of Achillea millefolium L. (yarrow) in the presence and ansence of a competitor--Hordeum vulgare L. (barley). New Phytologist. 101: 507-519. [3052]
  • 47. Kuntz, David Edward. 1982. Plant response following spring burning in an Artemisia tridentata subsp. vaseyana/ Festuca idahoensis habitat type. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. 73 p. Thesis. [1388]
  • 61. Smyth, C. R. 1997. Early succession patterns with a native species seed mix on amended and unamended coal mine spoil in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern British Columbia, Canada. Arctic and Alpine Research. 29(2): 184-195. [27405]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

Hemicryptophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: August-September
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Phenology

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Western yarrow has a long flowering season throughout its range, which varies as follows [19]:
    State     Earliest     Most Frequent     Latest                 Month         Month           Month ---------------------------------------------------      CO          May           May             Jun      ID          Apr           May             Jun      MT          May           May             Jun      UT          Apr           May             Jun      WY          May           Jun             Aug

Average dates of different growth stages at different elevations in Utah were recorded as follows [22]:

Elev.   Flower buds  Flowers    Seeds    Seeds         Plant (ft)    evident      in bloom   ripe     disseminated  dried --------------------------------------------------------------- 7,150   May 30       Jun 29     Sept 28  Sept 19       Oct 10 7,655   Jun 01       Jul 05     Aug 26   Sept 24       Oct 13 8,450   Jun 06       Jul 10     Sept 04  ---           Sept 25 9,000   Jun 18       Jul 15     Sept 08  Sept 29       Oct 01 10,100  Jun 25       Jul 21     Sept 20  Oct 08        Oct 08

Average heights (cm) of plants at various dates and altitudes from Ephraim Canyon in Utah were as follows (1925-1934) [22]:

Alt.(ft) May 1  May 15  Jun 1   Jun 15  Jul 1  Jul 15 ----------------------------------------------------- 7,150    4.9    9.1     16.2    26.2    30.8   33.9 7,655    3.9    8.0     12.9    20.0    28.4   31.1 8,450    1.4    4.6      7.7    15.8    24.2   29.3 9,000    --     0.5      3.5     7.9    19.0   28.3 10,100   --     --       --      5.1    11.1   19.9

Over a 10-year period in Saskatchewan, Canada, flowering dates were recorded for yarrow [18]:

                                                         Mean ------------First flowering date-----------  Latest date flowering earliest date & yr  latest date & yr  mean   in flower   period ------------------  ----------------  -----  --------    ------ May 28/1946         Jun 30/1950       Jun 19 Sept 23     78 days
  • 18. Budd, A. C.; Campbell, J. B. 1959. Flowering sequence of a local flora. Journal of Range Management. 12: 127-132. [552]
  • 19. Clausen, Jens; Keck, David D.; Hiesey, William M. 1948. Experimental studies on the nature of species. III: Environmental responses of climatic races of Achillea. Publication 581; Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington. 129 p. [648]
  • 22. Costello, David F.; Price, Raymond. 1939. Weather and plant-development data as determinants of grazing periods on mountain range. Tech. Bull. 686. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 31 p. [694]

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Life Cycle

Phenology

Achillea millefolium has different flowering periods depending on where it's located. In the south, it flowers late April to early July, but in the north it doesn't begin flowering until mid-July and will continue through mid-September. (Trock, 2006.)

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Perennial

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Reproduction

Axillary rhizomes of A. millefolium produce new plants annually at their apices. Vegetative reproduction occurs when the rhizomes are fragmented. (Bourdot, Field & White, 1985.)

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Growth

Achillea millefolium has a moderate growth rate.

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

According to a 2008 study, A. millefolium has travelled from Europe and southwest Asia to east Asia, then to North America. The A. millefolium aggregate has been shaped by cycles of differentiation, hybridization and polyplodization, resulting in the now worldwide expanse of the hexaploid (and other polyploids). (Guo, Saukel & Ehrendorfer, 2008.)

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Physiology and Cell Biology

Cell Biology

Cytology

The chromosome number of A. millefolium varies, and has been observed as 2n = 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72. (Trock, 2006.)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

In the Western US, the tetraploid (2n=36) and the hexaploid (2n=54) are the dominant ploidy levels. (Tyrl, 1969.) Capable of hybridization between ploidies, A. millefolium has been observed at every ploidy level up to octoploid (2n=72) worldwide.

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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Achillea millefolium

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Achillea millefolium

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 27
Specimens with Barcodes: 42
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T2 - Imperiled

Reasons: Achillea millefolium var. puberula has been reported in central-western California, in the northern San Francisco Bay area (Marin to Contra Costa counties), occurring in saltwater and brackish marshes.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

Reasons: Element found circumglobally in the coastal and dune communities of the transitional zone between the northern boreal forest and southern extremes of arctic tundra; abundance common over parts of range.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T2 - Imperiled

Reasons: Endemic to Oregon.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T2 - Imperiled

Reasons: Achillea millefolium var. gigantea has been reported to be in California in the San Joaquin Valley (Fresno to Kern counties), occurring along borders of marshes and watercourses.

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

Reasons: The preferred habitat is dry soils of alpine and subalpine meadows, 5000-7000 feet; abundance unknown.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread in grasslands and open woods, throughout Great Plains. Natural range is wide, but some populations may be introduced.

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Boreal yarrow is state-listed as a species of special concern in Maine [48].

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The morphological variant previously recognized as Achillea Borealis or Achillea millefolium var. Borealis is a species of special concern in Canada. (USDA, 2010.) Similarly, the eco-morphotype previously known as A. megacephala or A. millefolifum var. megacephala is of special concern in Canada. (Trock, 2006.)

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Status

Common and widespread: not threatened (3).
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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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Threats

This species is not threatened.
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Pests and potential problems

Common yarrow may suffer from mildew or root rot if not planted in well-drained soil.

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the term: rhizome

Western yarrow tends to increase rapidly in disturbed areas or overgrazed rangelands,
replacing more valuable forage species and crops [43]. It is often an indicator of past
overstocking and excessive utilization [69]. Western yarrow tends to decrease on
grazing plots once grazing has ceased [7,20]. Since
rhizomes are a major means
of western yarrow regeneration, starting control measures early in autumn may prevent
spring growth from autumn and winter rhizome dry matter [15].
In New Zealand, barley (Hordeum vulgare) reduced rhizome and seed production
in western yarrow [15].

Dicamba and mixtures with triclopyr are effective in controlling western yarrow [74].
  • 7. Austin, Dennis D.; Urness, Philip J. 1998. Vegetal change on a northern Utah foothill range in the absence of livestock grazing between 1948 and 1982. The Great Basin Naturalist. 58(2): 188-191. [1483]
  • 15. Bourdot, G. W.; Field, R. J.; White, J. G. H. 1985. Growth analysis of Achillea millefolium L. (yarrow) in the presence and ansence of a competitor--Hordeum vulgare L. (barley). New Phytologist. 101: 507-519. [3052]
  • 20. Collins, Scott L. 1987. Interaction of disturbances in tallgrass prairie: a field experiment. Ecology. 68(5): 1243-1250. [2708]
  • 43. Johnson, James R.; Nichols, James T. 1970. Plants of South Dakota grasslands: A photographic study. Bull. 566. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 163 p. [18500]
  • 69. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387]
  • 74. William, Ray D.; Ball, Dan; Miller, Terry L; [and others], compilers. 1997. Pacific Northwest weed control handbook. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Extension Services; Pullman, WA: Washington State University, Cooperative Extension; Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, College of Agriculture. 373 p. [27982]

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Although A. millefolium contains alkaloids and other volatile compounds, it is not considered toxic because it is so rarely consumed by livestock. (US Forest Service, 2010.)

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Conservation

Conservation action is not required for this very common species.
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Control

Please contact your local agricultural extension specialist or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area and how to use it safely. Always read label and safety instructions for each control method. Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information. USDA, NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named, and other products may be equally effective.

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

These materials are readily available from commercial plant sources.

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Weediness

This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use. Weed information is also available from the PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Other uses and values

More info for the term: fresh

Native Americans used tea made from western yarrow to relieve ear-, tooth-, and headaches; as an eyewash; to reduce swelling; and as a tonic or stimulant. Western yarrow varies in taste and in potency depending on where it grows and at what stage of growth it is in. The best time to collect yarrow for tea is right before the flowers are produced, using only the new succulent leaves [34]. During the Civil War, western yarrow was widely used to treat wounds and became known as "soldiers' woundwort." An ethanol extract of western yarrow has mosquito- repelling properties [67].

Western yarrow is used for summer and winter bouquets. When cut fresh and kept in water, western yarrow flavors the air with an aromatic spiciness [43,64].

  • 34. Hart, J. 1976. Montana--native plants and early peoples. Helena, MT: Montana Historical Society. 75 p. [9979]
  • 43. Johnson, James R.; Nichols, James T. 1970. Plants of South Dakota grasslands: A photographic study. Bull. 566. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 163 p. [18500]
  • 64. Stubbendieck, James; Nichols, James T.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1989. Nebraska range and pasture forbs and shrubs (including succulent plants). Extension Circular 89-118. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Nebraska Cooperative Extension. 153 p. [10168]
  • 67. Tunon, H.; Thorsell, W.; Bohlin, L. 1994. Mosquito repelling activity of compounds occurring in Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae). Economic Botany. 48(2): 111-120. [23929]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Due to its extensive system of rhizomes, western yarrow is a good soil binder [59] and has been used in erosion control projects on the Wasatch Plateau in central Utah [69]. In Massachusetts, seed-grown sod of western yarrow, along with sod of 11 other species, was transplanted onto a roadside site with shallow, infertile soil and direct exposure. After 4 years, western yarrow was one of 3 surviving species on the site [2].
  • 2. Airhart, Douglas L.; Falls, Kathleen M. 1988. Experiments with seed-grown sod as plant introduction technique described (Massachusetts). Restoration & Management Notes. 6(1): 51. [5558]
  • 59. Shaw, Nancy L.; Monsen, Stephen B. 1983. Nonleguminous forbs for rangeland sites. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 123-131. [2121]
  • 69. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387]

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

The degree to which yarrow provides cover for wildlife has
been rated as follows [27]:

                                 CO     MT      ND      UT     WY
Pronghorn                  ----    ----      fair       poor   poor
Elk                             ----    ----      ----     poor   poor
Mule deer                   ----    ----      fair      poor   poor
Small mammals           good    poor    ----    fair     poor
Small nongame birds   good    poor    fair     fair     poor
Upland game birds      ----    poor     ----    fair     poor
Waterfowl                  ----    ----      ----     poor  poor
White-tailed deer        ----    ----      fair     ----    poor
  • 27. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. [806]

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Nutritional Value

Western yarrow is rated as poor in energy and protein content [27].
In Northern Utah, plants growing on unfavorable sites (defined by
slope, exposure, and vegetation cover) were 9% higher in crude protein
than plants growing on favorable sites [21].

,Monthly nutrient values and moisture content of
western yarrow collected from Cold Meadows in the River of No Return
Wilderness, Idaho, (1977 to 1978) were as follows [29]:                June        July           Aug
crude fiber    22(2.0)     24(1.8)       25(1.2)
crude protein  20(1.6)     17(0.3)       14(0.9)
moisture       78(5)       64(2)         58(3)
CA:P           2.7:1       4.5:1         5.1:1
  • 21. Cook, C. Wayne; Harris, Lorin E. 1950. The nutritive value of range forage as affected by vegetation type, site, and stage of maturity. Bulletin 344 (Technical). Logan, UT: Utah State Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station; 1950. 45 p. [678]
  • 27. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. [806]
  • 29. Elliott, Charles R.; Flinders, Jerran T. 1984. Plant nutrient levels on two summer ranges in the River of No Return Wilderness Area, Idaho. The Great Basin Naturalist. 44(1): 621-626. [859]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Western yarrow varies greatly in forage value, depending on locality and seasonal development. It is generally unpalatable, although domestic livestock and wildlife occasionally consume the flowers. Cattle and horses usually do not graze western yarrow, but bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and deer may use it. They most often graze the flowerheads. Western yarrow provides fair forage for domestic sheep and goats [24,43]. The average summer use is 20% for cattle and horses and 40% for domestic sheep and goats [58]. Western yarrow is an important food of 4- to 8-week-old sage grouse chicks [16].

Western yarrow contains volatile oils, alkaloids, and glycosides but is not generally considered a toxic plant because it is so seldom consumed by livestock. Milk from cows consuming western yarrow has a "disagreeable" flavor [64].

  • 16. Braun, Clait E.; Britt, Tim; Wallestad, Richard O. 1977. Guidelines for maintenance of sage grouse habitats. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 5: 99-106. [5621]
  • 24. Crawford, Hewlette S.; Kucera, Clair L.; Ehrenreich, John H. 1969. Ozark range and wildlife plants. Agric. Handb. 356. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 236 p. [18602]
  • 43. Johnson, James R.; Nichols, James T. 1970. Plants of South Dakota grasslands: A photographic study. Bull. 566. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 163 p. [18500]
  • 58. Reitz, Louis P.; Morris, H. E. 1939. Important grasses and other common plants on Montana ranges: description, distribution and relative value. Bull. 375. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 35 p. [1954]
  • 64. Stubbendieck, James; Nichols, James T.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1989. Nebraska range and pasture forbs and shrubs (including succulent plants). Extension Circular 89-118. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Nebraska Cooperative Extension. 153 p. [10168]

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Palatability

The palatability of western yarrow to livestock and wildlife in several
western states has been rated as follows [27]:
                     CO      MT      ND      UT      WY
Cattle              poor    poor    poor    poor    poor
Domestic sheep      fair    fair    fair    good    fair
Horses              poor    poor    poor    poor    poor
Pronghorn           ----    poor    fair    fair    fair
Elk                 ----    poor    ----    fair    fair
Mule deer           ----    poor    fair    fair    fair
White-tailed deer   ----    poor    poor    ----    fair
Small mammals       ----    poor    ----    fair    fair
Small nongame birds ----    poor    ----    fair    poor        
Upland game birds   ----    poor    ----    fair    good
Waterfowl           ----    ----    ----    poor    poor
  • 27. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. [806]

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Uses

Achillea millefolium has a long history of cultural and medicinal uses. In some eastern cultures it has been used in the mystical practice of divination. A. millefolium can be distilled to form an oil that possesses known anti-inflammatory and blood-staunching abilities. It has been used to treat internal bleeding, excessive menstrual bleeding, high blood pressure, fever reduction and more. The leaves have been used, both fresh and dry, as a garnish and in salads. (Morgenstern, 2010.)

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Uses

Ethnobotanic: Several tribes of the Plains region of the United States including the Pawnee and Chippewa tribes used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk in a treatment for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves in a steam inhalant for headaches. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Risks

Caution

Caution: This plant may become invasive.
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Wikipedia

Achillea millefolium

"Yarrow" redirects here. For other uses, see Yarrow (disambiguation).

Achillea millefolium, known commonly as yarrow /ˈjær/ or common yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America.[1] In New Mexico and southern Colorado, it is called plumajillo (Spanish for 'little feather') from its leaf shape and texture. In antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris, for its use in staunching the flow of blood from wounds.[2] Other common names for this species include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.[3]

Description[edit]

Yarrow leaves

Achillea millefolium is an erect herbaceous perennial plant that produces one to several stems 0.2–1 metre (0.66–3.28 ft) in height, and has a spreading rhizomatous growth form. Leaves are evenly distributed along the stem, with the leaves near the middle and bottom of the stem being the largest. The leaves have varying degrees of hairiness (pubescence). The leaves are 5–20 cm long, bipinnate or tripinnate, almost feathery, and arranged spirally on the stems. The leaves are cauline, and more or less clasping.[3]

The inflorescence has 4 to 9 phyllaries and contains ray and disk flowers which are white to pink. The generally 3 to 8 ray flowers are ovate to round. Disk flowers range from 15 to 40. The inflorescence is produced in a flat-topped cluster. The fruits are small achenes.[3]

The plant has a strong, sweet scent, similar to chrysanthemums.[1]

Distribution[edit]

Yarrow grows from sea level to 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) in elevation. The plant commonly flowers from May through June. Common yarrow is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring.[1][3]

In North America, both native and introduced genotypes, and both diploid and polyploid plants are found.[4] It is found in every habitat throughout California except the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.[5][6] common yarrow produces an average yield of 43,000 plants per acre, with a total dry weight of 10,500 lbs.[7]

Clusters of 15 to 40 tiny disk flowers surrounded by three to eight white to pink ray flowers are, in turn, arranged in a flat-topped inflorescence (Wenatchee Mountains, Washington).
Pink flowers

Varieties[edit]

The several varieties and subspecies include:

Uses[edit]

Cultivation[edit]

Achillea millefolium is cultivated as an ornamental plant by many plant nurseries. It is planted in gardens and natural landscaping settings of diverse climates and styles. They include native plant, drought-tolerant, and wildlife gardens. The plant is a frequent component of butterfly gardens. The plant prefers well-drained soil in full sun, but can be grown in less ideal conditions.[15][16][17]

Propagation[edit]

For propagation, seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than one-quarter inch (6 mm). Seeds also require a germination temperature of 18-24° (64-75 °F). It has a relatively short life in some situations, but may be prolonged by division in the spring every other year, and planting 12–18 in (30–46 cm) apart. It can become invasive.[18]

Cultivars[edit]

The species use in traditional gardens has generally been superseded by cultivars with specific 'improved' qualities.[19] Some are used as drought tolerant lawn replacements, with periodic mowing.[20] The many different ornamental cultivars include: 'Paprika',[21] 'Cerise Queen', 'Red Beauty',[22] 'Red Velvet',[23] 'Saucy Seduction', 'Strawberry Seduction' (red), 'Island Pink' (pink),[24] and 'Calistoga' (white),[25] and 'Sonoma Coast' (white).[26] Several, including 'Kelwayi',[27] and 'Lansdorferglut' (both pink)[28] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The many hybrids of this species designated Achillea x taygetea are useful garden subjects,[29] including: 'Appleblossom', 'Fanal', 'Hoffnung', and 'Moonshine'.[30]

Companion planting[edit]

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is considered an especially useful companion plant, repelling some insect pests while attracting good, predatory ones. It attracts predatory wasps, which drink the nectar and then use insect pests as food for their larvae. Similarly, it attracts ladybirds and hoverflies.[17]

It is also planted for improving soil quality. Its leaves are thought to be good fertilizer, and a beneficial additive for compost.

It is also considered directly beneficial to other plants, improving the health of sick plants when grown near them.[31]

Agriculture[edit]

Achillea millefolium can be planted to combat soil erosion due to the plant's resistance to drought. Before the arrival of monocultures of ryegrass, both grass leys and permanent pasture always contained A. millefolium at a rate of about 0.3 kg/ha. At least one of the reasons for its inclusion in grass mixtures was its deep roots, with leaves rich in minerals. Thus its inclusion helped to prevent mineral deficiencies in the ruminants to which it was fed.

Herbal and traditional uses[edit]

The herb is purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent,[32] tonic,[32] stimulant and mild aromatic. It contains isovaleric acid, salicylic acid, asparagin, sterols, flavonoids, bitters, tannins, and coumarins. The plant also has a long history as a powerful 'healing herb' used topically for wounds, cuts and abrasions. The genus name Achillea is derived from mythical Greek character, Achilles,[32] who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds. This medicinal action is also reflected in some of the common names mentioned below, such as staunchweed and soldier's woundwort.[1]

Because Neanderthal dental tartar reveals evidence of medicine we know that Neanderthals in Europe already consumed yarrow, a natural astringent, and camomile, an anti-inflammatory.

The stalks are dried and used as a randomising agent in I Ching divination.[33]

In the Middle Ages, yarrow was part of a herbal mixture known as gruit used in the flavouring of beer prior to the use of hops.[citation needed] The flowers and leaves are used in making some liquors and bitters.[1]

Traditional names for A. millefolium include arrowroot, bad man's plaything, bloodwort, carpenter's weed, death flower, devil's nettle, eerie, field hops, gearwe, hundred leaved grass, knight's milefoil, knyghten, milefolium, milfoil, millefoil, noble yarrow, nosebleed, old man's mustard, old man's pepper, sanguinary, seven year's love, snake's grass, soldier, soldier's woundwort, stanchweed, thousand seal, woundwort, yarroway, yerw. The English name yarrow comes from the Saxon (Old English) word gearwe, which is related to both the Dutch word gerw and the Old High German word garawa.[34]

Yarrow has also been used as a food, and was very popular as a vegetable in the 17th century. The younger leaves are said to be a pleasant leaf vegetable when cooked like spinach, or in a soup. Yarrow is sweet with a slight bitter taste. The leaves can also be dried and used as a herb in cooking.

A. millefolium has seen historical use as a medicine, often because of its astringent effects.[1]

The dark blue essential oil, extracted by steam distillation of the flowers, is generally used as an anti-inflammatory[35] or in chest rubs for colds and influenza.[36]

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) essential oil in a clear glass vial

The leaves encourage clotting, so it can be used fresh for nosebleeds.[37] The aerial parts of the plant are used for phlegm conditions, as a bitter digestive tonic to encourage bile flow, and as a diuretic.[38] The aerial parts act as a tonic for the blood, stimulate the circulation, and can be used for high blood pressure; it is also useful in menstrual disorders, and as an effective sweating remedy to bring down fevers.[1]

Yarrow intensifies the medicinal action of other herbs taken with it.[39] It is reported[40] to be associated with the treatment of the following ailments:

Pain,[41] antiphlogistic,[42][43] bleeding, gastrointestinal disorders,[42] choleretic[44] inflammation,[45] emmenagogue,[46] stomachache.[47]

Chinese proverbs claim yarrow brightens the eyes and promotes intelligence. Yarrow and tortoiseshell are considered to be lucky in Chinese tradition.[48]

In classical Greece, Homer tells of the centaur Chiron, who conveyed herbal secrets to his human pupils, and taught Achilles to use yarrow on the battle grounds of Troy.[49]

Native American uses[edit]

Budding

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium and its North American varieties, was used in traditional Native American herbal medicine by tribes across the continent.[50] The Navajo considered it to be a "life medicine", chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches. The Miwok in California used the plant as an analgesic and head cold remedy.[50]

Several tribes of the Plains Indians used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves for headaches by inhaling it in a steam. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep.[50]

Among the Zuni people use the occidentalis variety medicinally. The blossoms and root are chewed, and the juice applied before fire-walking or fire-eating. A poultice of the pulverized plant is mixed with water and applied to burns.[51] Recently it was reported that treatment with Achillea millefolium may attenuate disease severity, inflammatory responses, and demyelinating lesions in a mouse model of Multiple Sclerosis.[52]

Dangers[edit]

In rare cases, yarrow can cause severe allergic skin rashes; prolonged use can increase the skin's photosensitivity.[53] This can be triggered initially when wet skin comes into contact with cut grass and yarrow together.

In one study, aqueous extracts of yarrow impaired the sperm production of laboratory rats.[54]

Birds[edit]

Several cavity-nesting birds, including the common starling, use yarrow to line their nests. Experiments conducted on the tree swallow, which does not use yarrow, suggest adding yarrow to nests inhibits the growth of parasites.[55]

Its essential oil kills the larvae of the mosquito Aedes albopictus.[56]

Similar plants[edit]

Similar species

Other Achillea species have similar foliage and flowers, including: Achillea ageratifolia and Achillea nobilis.

Similar genera

Other plants with white flowers in large compound umbels may be confused with Achillea millefolium, these include: water parsnip—Sium suave (swamp parsnip); western water hemlock—Cicuta douglasii (poison hemlock); and spotted water hemlock—Cicuta maculata (spotted parsley, spotted cowbane). Water parsnip and water hemlock have clusters of small white flowers that are shaped like umbrellas, and both grow in moist soils. Water parsnip leaves are once compound, and water hemlock leaves are three times compound. Water hemlock has a large swelling at the stem base. All parts of water hemlock are highly poisonous.[57]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Gualtiero Simonetti (1990). Stanley Schuler, ed. Simon & Schuster's Guide to Herbs and Spices. Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN 0-671-73489-X. 
  2. ^ Dodson & Dunmire, 2007, Mountain Wildfowers of the Southern Rockies, UNM Press, ISBN 978-0-8263-4244-7
  3. ^ a b c d Achillea millefolium in Flora of North America @ efloras.org . accessed 1.31.2013
  4. ^ Alan S. Weakley (April 2008). "Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, and Surrounding Areas". 
  5. ^ Jepson Manual treatment for ACHILLEA millefolium . accessed 1.31.2013
  6. ^ Calflora database: Achillea millefolium . accessed 1.31.2013
  7. ^ A Grower's Guide_Yarrow_Achillea millefolium
  8. ^ USDA Plants Profile for Achillea millefolium var. alpicola (common yarrow) . accessed 1.31.2013
  9. ^ Profile for Achillea millefolium var. californica (California yarrow) . accessed 1.31.2013
  10. ^ Tropicos: Achillea millefolium var. californica . accessed 1.31.2013
  11. ^ Bert Wilson (29 July 2012). "Las Pilitas Nursery horticultural treatment: ''Achillea millefolium'' var. ''californica''". Laspilitas.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  12. ^ USDA Plants Profile for Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis (western yarrow) . accessed 1.31.2013
  13. ^ USDA Plants Profile for Achillea millefolium var. pacifica (Pacific yarrow) . accessed 1.31.2013
  14. ^ USDA Plants Profile for Achillea millefolium var. puberula . accessed 1.31.2013
  15. ^ Missouri Botanical Garden horticultural treatment: Achillea millefolium . accessed 1.31.2013
  16. ^ Fine Gardening magazine Plant Guide — Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) . accessed 1.31.2013
  17. ^ a b Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database: Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) . accessed 1.31.2013
  18. ^ USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 22 May 2006). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.[1]
  19. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1-4053-3296-4. 
  20. ^ San Marcos Growers horticulture — The Yarrow Lawn . accessed 1.31.2013
  21. ^ "Missouri Botanical Garden horticultural treatment: ''Achillea millefolium'' 'Paprika'". Missouribotanicalgarden.org. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Missouri Botanical Garden horticultural treatment: ''Achillea millefolium'' 'Red Beauty'". Missouribotanicalgarden.org. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  23. ^ RHS: Achillea millefolium 'Red Velvet'
  24. ^ Bert Wilson (8 January 2012). "Las Pilitas Nursery: ''Achillea millefolium rosea'' Island Pink (Pink Yarrow)". Laspilitas.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  25. ^ "California Natives Wiki: ''Achillea millefolium'' 'Calistoga'". Theodorepayne.org. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "California Natives Wiki: ''Achillea millefolium'' 'Sonoma Coast'". Theodorepayne.org. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  27. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Achillea millefolium 'Kelwayi' / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  28. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Achillea millefolium 'Lansdorferglut' AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  29. ^ Clausen, Ruth Rogers; Ekstrom, Nicolas H. (1989). Perennials for American gardens. New York: Random House. p. 4. ISBN 0-394-55740-9. 
  30. ^ Monrovia Growers: Achillea x 'Moonshine' — Moonshine Yarrow.
  31. ^ Yarrow Herb[dead link]
  32. ^ a b c Alma R. Hutchens (1973). Indian Herbology of North America. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-639-1. 
  33. ^ "Introduction to the I Ching - By Richard Wilhelm". Iging.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  34. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. Yarrow.
  35. ^ Inhibitory effect of lactone fractions and individual components from three species of the Achillea millefolium complex of Bulgarian origin on the human neutrophils respiratory burst activity Choudhary M.I., Jalil S., Todorova M., Trendafilova A., Mikhova B., Duddeck H. Natural Product Research 2007 21:11 (1032–1036)
  36. ^ Teresa Skwarek (1979). "Effects of Herbal Preparations on the propagation of influenza viruses". Acta Polon Pharm. XXXVI (5): 1–7. 
  37. ^ "The Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. ''Specific Indications in Clinical Practice.''". Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  38. ^ Combining Western Herbs and Chinese Medicine (book), 2003, "Achillea", P. 165–181. Jeremy Ross. ISBN 978-0-9728193-0-5.
  39. ^ Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Kowalchik C & Hylton WH, Eds, "Companion Planting", P.108. ISBN 978-0-87596-964-0.
  40. ^ Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Kowalchik C & Hylton WH, Eds, P.293, 367, 518. ISBN 978-0-87596-964-0
  41. ^ Analgesic Effect of aqueous extract of Achillea millefolium L. on rat's formalin test Noureddini M., Rasta V.-R. Pharmacologyonline 2008 3 (659-664)
  42. ^ a b Benedek, Birgit; Kopp, Brigitte (2007). "Achillea millefolium L. S.l. Revisited: Recent findings confirm the traditional use". Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 157 (13–14): 312–314. doi:10.1007/s10354-007-0431-9. PMID 17704978.  edit
  43. ^ Aqueous extract of Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae) inflorescences suppresses lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory responses in RAW 264.7 murine macrophages Burk D.R., Cichacz Z.A., Daskalova S.M. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research 2010 4:3 (225-234)
  44. ^ Choleretic effects of yarrow (Achillea millefolium s.l.) in the isolated perfused rat liver Benedek B., Geisz N., Jäger W., Thalhammer T., Kopp B. Phytomedicine 2006 13:9-10 (702-706)
  45. ^ Effects of two Achillea species tinctures on experimental acute inflammation Popovici M., Pârvu A.E., Oniga I., Toiu A., Tǎmaş M., Benedec D. Farmacia 2008 56:1 (15-23)
  46. ^ In vitro estrogenic activity of Achillea millefolium L. Innocenti G., Vegeto E., Dall'Acqua S., Ciana P., Giorgetti M., Agradi E., Sozzi A., Fico G., Tomè F. Phytomedicine 2007 14:2-3 (147-152)
  47. ^ Antiulcerogenic activity of hydroalcoholic extract of Achillea millefolium L.: Involvement of the antioxidant system Potrich F.B., Allemand A., da Silva L.M., dos Santos A.C., Baggio C.H., Freitas C.S., Mendes D.A.G.B., Andre E., de Paula Werner M.F., Marques M.C.A. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2010 130:1 (85-92)
  48. ^ "Chinese Superstitions". Chinatownconnection.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  49. ^ Homer. Iliad. pp. 11.828–832. 
  50. ^ a b c University of Michigan - Dearborn: Native American Ethnobotany; Achillea millefolium . accessed 1.31.2013
  51. ^ Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p. 42)
  52. ^ Vazirinejad R, Ayoobi F, Arababadi MK, Eftekharian MM, Darekordi A, Goudarzvand M, et al. Effect of aqueous extract of Achillea millefolium on the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL/6 mice. Indian J Pharmacol 2014;46:303‑8.
  53. ^ Contact Dermatitis 1998, 39:271-272.
  54. ^ Dalsenter P, Cavalcanti A, Andrade A, Araújo S, Marques M (2004). "Reproductive evaluation of aqueous crude extract of Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae) in Wistar rats". Reprod Toxicol 18 (6): 819–23. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2004.04.011. PMID 15279880. 
  55. ^ Shutler D, Campbell AA (2007). "Experimental addition of greenery reduces flea loads in nests of a non-greenery using species, the tree swallow Tachycineta bicolor". Journal of Avian Biology 38 (1): 7–12. doi:10.1111/j.2007.0908-8857.04015.x. 
  56. ^ Essential oil composition and larvicidal activity of six Mediterranean aromatic plants against the mosquito Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Conti B., Canale A., Bertoli A., Gozzini F., Pistelli L. Parasitology Research 2010 107:6 (1455–1461)
  57. ^ "Cicuta maculata". 

Further reading[edit]

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Notes

Comments

Achillea millefolium is morphologically variable and has been treated as either a single species with varieties or as multiple distinct species. At least 58 names have been used for North American specimens. Some early workers (e.g., J. Clausen et al. 1948) thought the native North American plants were taxonomically distinguishable from introduced, Old World plants. Other workers (e.g., R. J. Tyrl 1975) have treated A. millefolium as a cosmopolitan, Northern Hemisphere polyploid complex of native and introduced plants that have hybridized, forming diploid, tetraploid, pentaploid, hexaploid, septaploid, and octoploid plants and/or populations constituting a single, variable species.

Morphologic characters that have been used to segregate these populations into species and/or varieties include: (1) degree and persistence of tomentum; (2) phyllaries with greenish, light brown, or dark brown margins; (3) shapes of capitulescences (rounded or flat-topped); and (4) degrees of leaf dissection and shapes of lobes.

While examining specimens for this treatment, two general trends were noted: (1) Plants growing either at high latitudes or high elevations tend to have darker colored margins on the phyllaries. (2) Plants at high latitudes or elevations or from extreme desert locations tend to be more densely lanate than plants from less extreme habitats. These are only trends; variations in local populations due to local environmental conditions are to be expected.

An eco-morphotype adapted to the Athabasca sand dunes of northern Saskatchewan has been known as A. megacephala or A. millefolium var. megacephala and has been treated as a taxon of special concern in Canada (V. L. Harms 1999).

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: This taxon is recognized (as a tetraploid) by M.A. Nobs in Ferris (1960) and by Kartesz (1999); Munz (1974) for southern California followed Nobs' treatment (but not covering this taxon). It is not mentioned by Jepson (1925), or by Howell (1970) for Marin County. This taxon is considered a synonym of the species by D.J. Keil in Hickman (1993), who also states that the species is a "highly variable polyploid complex", and by Munz (1959). Cronquist (1994) discussed the variability in this species (with a focus on the Intermountain region), more or less recognizing several infrataxa in his discussion (although not providing a key).

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Comments: This taxon is recognized (as a hexaploid) by M.A. Nobs in Ferris (1960) and by Kartesz (1999), and by Twisselmann (1967) for Kern County (who considered it "distinctive"). Munz (1974) for southern California followed Nobs' treatment (but not covering this taxon); it is not mentioned by Munz (1959, 1968) or Jepson (1925). This taxon is considered a synonym of the species by D.J. Keil in Hickman (1993), who also states that the species is a "highly variable polyploid complex", and by Skinner and Pavlik (1994). Cronquist (1994) discussed the variability in this species (with a focus on the Intermountain region), more or less recognizing several infrataxa in the discussion (although not providing a key).

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Comments: In North America, has both native and introduced plants (Cronquist, Asteraceae SE US, 1980).

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The scientific name of western yarrow is Achillea millefolium L. (Asteraceae) [26,36,44,73].
There are both native and introduced phases of western yarrow in North America. Introduced and native
phases differ primarily in chromosome number and are difficult to distinguish morphologically
[26,73]. Native and introduced phases
hybridize. The intricate pattern of morphologic, geographic, and ecologic variation within the species
has frustrated all efforts to organize an intraspecific taxonomy on a circumboreal or even a strictly
North American basis [26]. Most authorities do not recognize infrataxa
[26,73,74];
however, Kartesz [44] recognizes the following varieties:

Achillea millefolium var. alpicola (Rydb.) Garrolt - common yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. arenicola (Heller) Nobs - common yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. borealis (Bong.) Farw. - boreal yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. californica (Pollard) Jepson - California yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. gigantea (Pollard) Nobs - giant yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. litoralis (Ehrend.) Nobs - coast yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. megacephala (Raup) Bolvin - largehead yarrow

Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis (DC.) Hyl. - western yarrow
  • 36. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 44. Kartesz, John T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume I--checklist. 2nd ed. Portland, OR: Timber Press. 622 p. [23877]
  • 73. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Nowot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]
  • 26. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1994. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 5. Asterales. New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 496 p. [28653]
  • 74. William, Ray D.; Ball, Dan; Miller, Terry L; [and others], compilers. 1997. Pacific Northwest weed control handbook. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Extension Services; Pullman, WA: Washington State University, Cooperative Extension; Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, College of Agriculture. 373 p. [27982]

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Common Names

western yarrow

common yarrow

wooly yarrow

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Synonyms

Achillea lanulosa Nutt. [73]
  • 73. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Nowot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]

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