Common Yarrow

Common Yarrow
Common Yarrow. Achillea millefolium.
Asteraceae, the daisy, sunflower or composite family.

Plant: Upright, mostly unbranched, usually hairy plant 1'-3' tall, with feathery, grey-green foliage and flat-topped clusters of small, white flowers. Perennial.
Flowers: Small, white heads, about 1/4" across, with usually 4-6 ray flowers, and numerous tiny disk flowers. The heads are arranged in flat-topped clusters with a multiply branching structure (a corymb).
Leaves: Alternate, feather-like, two or three times pinnate with a three-dimensional structure, lanceolate in outline, 1"-6" long, gray-green in color, and generally more or less hairy. Aromatic when crushed.
Fruit: Dry, seed-like achene.
Blooming: June-September
Habitat: Fields, roadsides.

Comments: The yarrows form a complex of hybridizing subspecies across the northern hemisphere. The pictures here are fairly typical for the native, North American variety. A flatter-leafed European version sometimes with colored flowers is grown in gardens and sometimes escapes. The plant has a long history in herbal medicine with a variety of uses, most famously as an astringent to stop bleeding. The generic name refers to the Greek hero Achilles who supposedly carried the herb to treat the wounds of his soldiers. The young leaves are supposedly edible as a potherb, and have been used as a flavoring herb due to their aromatic nature.

Where to find it: Most common on the south side of the pond, also in a few locations in the upper meadow on the north side of the pond.