Common Name: Common Yarrow.
Scientific Name: Achillea Millefolium.
What to look for? Dense cluster of tiny, white flowers atop a tall, medium green stem. The Common Yarrow is a member of the aster family. It has flat-topped or dome-shaped clusters, or corymbs, of small white flowers. Each individual flower is only about ¼ inch across. The Common Yarrow can reach about 3 feet in height. The leaves are narrow and finely divided and feathery or fern-like. The leaves get progressively smaller towards the top of the stem. The flower heads become oval seed heads, drying to brown and may persist through fall into winter.
Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? In late spring through early fall, you can find the Common Yarrow around the upper banks along Carillon Stonegate Ponds and the fields adjacent to the woodlands.
How big are they? Common Yarrow are approximately one to three feet tall. The fern-like leaves are up to five inches long and one inch across. Each dense cluster, or umbel, of white flowers is about two to four inches across.
Where do they grow and thrive? Common Yarrow are found across the U.S. and throughout North America - from the coast to alpine zone. These plants occur in most environments from prairies pastures, fallow fields and grassy waste areas to forests and along edges of paths.
When do they bloom? The blooming period of Common Yarrow occurs from April to October.
Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? The flowers of the Common Yarrow attracts a variety of butterflies, bees and other insects.
Interesting Facts About the Common Yarrow:
Although never mentioned in Hamilton – the Musical, Common Yarrow was originally introduced to America from Europe and Asia during colonial times.
Common Yarrow was formerly used for medicinal purposes such as to break a fever by increasing perspiration, to treat hemorrhaging and as a poultice for rashes or as a tea used by Native Americans to cure stomach disorders.
Genus name (Achillea) is in reference to Achilles, hero of the Trojan Wars in Greek mythology, who used the plant medicinally to stop bleeding and to heal the wounds of his soldiers.
Specific epithet (Millefolium) means thousand-leaved in reference to the foliage.
For more information on the Common Yarrow and sources of information used in this blog (these are the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Missouri Botanical Gardens, University of Texas Wildflower Center and USDA Forest Service.
The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.
Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!