Yarrow

Achillea millefolium L.

Other common names: Millefolium, milfoil, thousand-leaf, thousand-leaf clover, gordolobo, green arrow, soldier's wound-wort, nosebleed, dog daisy, bloodwort, sanguinary, carpenter's grass, old-man's-pepper, cammock.

Habitat and range: Yarrow is very common along roadsides and in old fields, pastures, and meadows from the New England States to Missouri and in scattered localities in other parts of the country.

Description: This weed, a perennial of the aster family (Asteraceae), is about 10 to 20 inches in height and has many dark-green feathery leaves, narrowly oblong or lance shaped in outline and very finely divided into numerous crowded parts or segments. Some of the leaves, especially the basal ones, which are borne on stems, are as much as 10 inches in length and about half an inch or an inch in width. The leaves toward the top of the plant become smaller and stemless. From about June to September the flat-topped flowering heads are produced in abundance and consist of numerous small, white (sometimes rose-colored), densely crowded flowers.

Yarrow has a strong odor, and when it is eaten by cows the odor and bitter taste are transmitted to dairy products.

Collection, prices, and uses: The entire plant is collected at the time that it is in flower and is carefully dried. The coarser stems are rejected. Considerable shrinkage takes place in drying, the plant losing about four-fifths of its weight. The prices paid for yarrow are from about 3 to 5 cents a pound.

Yarrow was official in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1860 to 1880. It has a strong, aromatic odor, very much like chamomile, and a sharp, bitter taste. It has been used as a stimulant tonic, for its action upon the bladder, and for checking excessive discharges.


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