Last modified on 7 July 2010, at 18:42

Wikijunior:Summer Flowers of Northern New England/Achillea millefolium

Common Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)
Common yarrow flowr cluster
Can you see the crab spider? The butterfly didn't!
Common Yarrow is a pretty plant capped with a flat cluster of tiny white flowers. The leaves are very feathery and look a lot like the leaves of a fern. It grows in open fields and in waste places (such as along roadsides and railroad tracks), but you can also find it in yards. If you come across one of these, look very closely at it, especially underneath the flowers, and you might find a crab spider. Crab spiders often make Common Yarrow their homes, because like a chameleon, they can change their color to exactly match that of the Yarrow's blossom. When an insect comes along to get nectar from the flower, the spider strikes! The crab spider in the photo on the right has caught a moth.

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 as spinach, or in a soup. Yarrow is sweet with a slight bitter taste. People also brew an herbal tea from the leaves.

Quick Facts:
Common Yarrow has a long history as a powerful 'healing herb' used topically for wounds cuts and scrapes. The genus name Achillea is derived from mythical Greek character, Achilles, who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds.

This is what the whole plant looks like.