Achillea millefolium

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Common Names: milfoil, yarrow
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Achillea borealis, Achillea lanulosa
  • Codon: ACHMIL

Photo by Ray Izumi, 2009. Also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Achillea L.
Species: Achillea millefolium L.
  • Achillea borealis Bong.
  • Achillea lanulosa Nutt.
  • Achillea millefolium ssp. borealis (Bong.) Breitung
  • Achillea laxiflora Pollard & Cockerell



Herbaceous perennial growing from rhizomes, from one to several stems up to heights 10 dm.[2] Tripinnate and lance-shaped leaves evenly distributed along stem with the leaves becoming smaller towards the top. Leaves typically between 1/4 inch to 1 1/4 inch wide and 1 1/4 inch long to 6 inches long. Inflorescences flat-topped, containing 10-20 whitish to yellowish,[3] typically radiate pseudanthia.[4] Fruits are achenes.[2]

Bloom Period

April-October [2]

Distribution of Yarrow


"Widespread throughout North America" [3]


Common in open dry to moist areas from high to low elevations; drought tolerant [2]


Several tribes of the Plains region of the United States including the Pawnee and Chippewa tribes used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk in a treatment for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves in a steam inhalant for headaches. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep. [3]

Herbalist Michael Moore also writes that A. millefolium is a great benefit for acute fevers as a hot infusion, that it is an effective hemostatic, and that it helps with irritation of the GI mucosa. [5]


Clean seeds with hammer mill then air screen cleaner. Sow in field between May or June and September. Plant 50-70 seeds per foot 1/2" deep or less spaced in 3" rows.


Achillea millefolium, photo by Lisa Hintz

Seed sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 1.9 x 0.6 x 0.3

Measurement Range: L: 1.6 - 2.1, W: 0.5 - 1, D: 0.2 - 0.5


Shape: Seed narrowly winged at margins, thicker in the middle. Seed face is narrower at hilum end, broadening at opposite side.

Color: Seed coat papery and white, becoming transparent at the center to reveal a red-brown inner seed.

Surface: Finely longitudinally ridged.

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical ACMI-lat-crosssection.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: obovate ACMI-long-crosssection.png

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

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  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 USDA Plants Profile for Achillea millefolium
  4. Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press, p. 534.
  5. Moore, M. (2011). Medicinal plants of the Pacific West. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press.