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Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium. Synonym: Achillea lanulosa. (Yarrow)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine.  Meadows, woodlands, shrublands.  Summer, fall.
Prairie Dog Knoll Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 25, 2004.

Is there a more common plant in the Four Corners area? Yarrow’s fern-like leaves, which have a strong, pleasant, distinctive smell, often carpet meadows and woods.  Of these masses of leaves, few produce plants that flower, but because Yarrow is so prolific there are still many flowers.  A close look at the flower often surprises, for it shows Yarrow to be a Sunflower with both ray and disk flowers. (See below.)  The dried flowers are long-lasting and are often gathered for household displays.

The Achillea genus was named by Linnaeus in 1753 when he also named this species "Achillea millefolium" from specimens collected in Europe.  Thomas Nuttall named this species "Achillea lanulosa" in 1834 from specimens collected by Meriwether Lewis in Idaho in about 1806.  Weber states that A. lanulosa and A. millefolium are "very closely related" but different species. Most other botanists, including John Kartesz, ultimate authority for plant names on this web site, treat the two as one species under the name of A. millefolium with A. lanulosa as a synonym.

Achilles is believed to have discovered the medicinal uses of this plant for healing wounds.  "Millefolium" means "thousand leaves". "Lanulosa" is Latin for "woolly".

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium. Synonym: Achillea lanulosa. (Yarrow)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
Lower Calico Trail, June 16, 2004.

In this and the next photograph you can see a number of groupings of flowers; each grouping contains numerous, small, crowded central disk flowers surrounded by a number of large white petals, the ray flowers.

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium. Synonym: Achillea lanulosa. (Yarrow)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
Prairie Dog Knoll Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 25, 2004.

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium. Synonym: Achillea lanulosa. (Yarrow)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
El Diente Trail, July 22, 2004.

Light magenta/pink flowers are uncommon.

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium. Synonym: Achillea lanulosa. (Yarrow)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
Rio Lado Trail, June 19, 2009.

 

Beauty can be found in bud as well as in flower.

Achillea millefolium
Achillea millefolium. Synonym: Achillea lanulosa. (Yarrow)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
Near Yellowjacket Canyon, September 23, 2004.

Yarrow spreads from stout roots; large patches of the fern-like basal leaves are a very common sight in meadows, woodlands, and around mountain homes.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Achillea millefolium