Genus Achillea
Aster Family (Asteraceae/Compositae)

Common Yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Yarrow is a well known plant which is found all over the world. It usually grows about a foot tall, with flat-topped clusters of tiny composite flowers. The species name "millefolium" refers to the appearance of the feathery fern-like leaves, which are dissected into thousands of tiny leaflets.

Yarrow has been used as a medicinal plant since prehistoric times. The genus is named after Achilles, the ancient Greek hero. According to legend, he was dipped by his mother into a brew of yarrow leaves when he was a baby. The gods had promised her that if she immersed him completely, it would make him immortal. However, she held him by the heel when she lowered him into the bath, so his heel was not protected. When he grew up, he was a great warrior and fought in many battles without being wounded. But in the Trojan War, an arrow hit him in the heel and he died from the injury.

Albion Basin
Wasatch Mountains
Salt Lake County, Utah


by Sandra Bray