Achillea millefolium: Yarrow AKA Milfoil, Thousand-leaf, Soldier’s woundwort and many more.
The flower has feather like, finely divided short leaves coming up the stem but the leaves at the base can be much longer.
It has many flower stalks coming off the stem. The stalks are topped with clusters of white flower heads. Each head then has a yellow floret resulting in the appearance that the flower has a yellow centre with white petals surrounding it.
You can see the flowers between June and November. One plant can produce up to 6000 seeds, allowing it to successfully reproduce.
Some would say a weed as it can take over gardens and grow in most conditions and outcompete other plants but it’s resilience to harsh conditions just shows how strong the plant is.
It’s a perennial plant so will live for over 2 years and die over winter to regrow in the following Spring. Yarrow can reach 50cm in height.
It is a common wildflower and is native to the UK. It can be found in grasslands, meadows and hedgerows but not waterlogged areas. It’s a herb and the entire plant is edible, ensuring you know how to cook it safely.
The plant has many other uses, mostly in medicine. It was found in Neanderthal burial sites, making it one of the first medical plants in human history. It can improve blood circulation and has some pain relief as well. It has been used to prevent blood clots but has also caused nosebleeds.
It is sometimes used in grass seed mixtures because it is rich in essential minerals like magnesium and calcium, making it an important component of livestock’s diet.
Yarrow also has been apart of some folklore and mythology. It is said that the centaur Chiron gave the Greek hero Achilles yarrow to use on the battlefield to treat his men from their wounds. Yarrow’s Latin name (Achillea millefolium) was derived from the legend of Achilles as he used it.
It has also been used in Europe and China for dream rituals and is a symbol of love as once its been established, it is long-lasting and strong.