Achillea is a genus of about 85 flowering plants, in the family Asteraceae, commonly referred to as yarrow. They occur in Europe and temperate areas of Asia. A few grow in North America. These plants typically have frilly, hairy, aromatic leaves.
These plants show large, flat clusters of small flowers at the top of the stem. These flowers can be white, yellow, orange, pink or red. A number of species are popular garden plants.
The genus was named for the Greek mythological character Achilles. According to the Iliad, Achilles' soldiers used yarrow to treat wounds, hence some of its common names such as allheal and bloodwort.
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) - is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. Common Yarrow is an erect herbaceous perennial plant that produces one to several stems (0.2 to 1m tall) and has a 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. The inflorescence has 4 to 9 phyllaries and contains ray and disk flowers which are white to pink. There are generally 3 to 8 ray flowers that are ovate to round. Disk flowers range from 15 to 40. The inflorescence is produced in a flat-topped cluster. Yarrow grows up to 3500m above sea level. The plant commonly flowers from May through June, and is a frequent component in butterfly gardens. Common yarrow is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring.
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 that adding yarrow to nests inhibits the growth of parasites.
Dangers: In rare cases, yarrow can cause severe allergic skin rashes; prolonged use can increase the skin's photosensitivity.
Achillea aegyptiaca (Egyptian Yarrow) - is ornamental plant in the Asteraceae family native to Europe. This is an evergreen (though herb-like) species. It has been grown for more than 200 years in English gardens, and originally came, as its name implies, from Egypt. Notwithstanding the much warmer climate of its native country, it proves to be one of the hardiest plants in our gardens. I dare say many will think the Yarrows are not worthy of a place in the garden; but it should not be forgotten that not only are fine and useful flowers included in this work, but also the good "old-fashioned" kinds, and that a few such are to be found amongst the Yarrows is without doubt. Could the reader see the collection now before me, cut with a good piece of stem and some foliage, and pushed into a deep vase, he would not only own that they were a pleasing contrast, but quaintly grand for indoor decoration.
Achillea filipendulina (Fernleaf Yarrow) - is an ornamental plant in the Asteraceae family. This plant grows 4ft. high, and the foliage, though fern-like, has an untidy appearance, from the irregular way in which it is disposed. It is herbaceous, and comes from the Caucasus. The flowers are somewhat singular, arranged in corymbs of a multiplex character; they are very large, often 5in. across. The smaller corymbs are arched or convex, causing the cluster or compound corymb to present an uneven surface; the small flowers are of rich old gold colour, and have the appearance of knotted gold cord; they are very rigid, almost hard. The leaves are linear, pinnate, lobed and serrated, hairy, rough, and numerously produced. From the untidy and tall habit of this subject, it should be planted in the background; its flowers, however, will claim a prominent position in a cut state; they are truly rich, the undulating corymbs have the appearance of embossed gold plate, and their antique colour and form are compared to gold braid by a lady who admires "old-fashioned" flowers. It will last for several weeks after being cut, and even out of water for many days. A few heads placed in an old vase, without any other flowers, are rich and characteristic, whilst on bronze figures and ewers in a dry state, and more especially on ebony or other black decorations, it may be placed with a more than floral effect. In short, rough as the plant is, it is worth growing for its quaint and rich flowers alone; it is seldom met with. Ordinary garden loam suits it, and its propagation may be carried out at any time by root divisio, in the same way which is used for Achillea aegyptiaca.
Achillea nobilis (Noble Yarrow) is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. The species has creamy-whitish yellow colored flowers, and resemble 'Common Yarrow' (Achillea millefolium) except with more flowers that are smaller and foliage which is much finer with thin lacy compound leaves. The medium green foliage forms a low growing clump in early spring and in late spring produce flowering stems that grow up the 20 inches tall, the stems end in flat flower clusters. The foliage and stems are covered with soft hairs, called pubescent hairs. It is native to Eurasia, however it is also naturalized out side of its range in North America and other parts of the world.
Achillea ptarmica is a species in the genus Achillea. It has loose clusters of white, button-like flowers that bloom from June to August. Its dark green leaves have finely-toothed margins. This is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that prefers full sun and moist but well-drained soil. The name ptarmica comes from the Greek word ptairo (=sneeze) and means 'causes sneezing'. Like many other plants, the sneezewort's pattern of development displays the Fibonacci sequence. The plant is poisonous to cattle, sheep, and horses. Symptoms are generally slow to develop, and include fever, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, weight loss, drooling, spasms and loss of muscular control, and convulsions.
Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
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