YARROW (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow in the Green Lane to Weston

This tough little perennial is common in grassland, including lawns. Its downy stems bear finely cut feathery aromatic leaves – the Latin ‘millefolium’ means thousand-leaved. The small flowers appear from early summer to late autumn, clustered in flat heads, from 6” to 8” in height and usually creamy-white but sometimes pale or deeper pink (there are many garden varieties with colours ranging from white through pink, salmon, lilac to deep red).

One of its popular names is Poor man’s pepper; it is said to cause sneezing if the leaves are sniffed. A close relative is Sneezewort (A. ptarmica), which is less commonly found in this county.

Yarrow was once regarded as a powerful herb, and was used as a charm against bad luck and illness.

Flower patterns in the flat topped head of a yarrow plant.

Text by George Metcalfe. Photos by Colin Wootton.