Also known as Western Yarrow, the Latin Mille means “1000″ and folium means “leaf”, refering to the numerous leaf segments. An aggressive white flower well adapted in all climates. It is hearty and survives well during drought conditions and prefers prairies, sagebrush plains, open woods, roadsides, and partially disturbed areas. It offers fair forage value for sheep and deer but is unpallatable to cattle. It grows from the semi-desert zone up to the subalpine zone. Adapted to a broad range of soils, but does best on sandy and gravelly loam.
Western Yarrow has an interesting history above and beyond its use as a popular reclamation species. Native American tribes are recorded as having used yarrow for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. Often a tea was made from parts of the plant, to treat coughs, colds, throat irritations, toothaches, and respiratory diseases. It was also used as an eyewash, a tonic and a stimulant. Green leaves were use to relieve itching, chewed for toothaches, and used as a mild laxative. The plant has a numbing effect and was used to treat wounds and stop bleeding in battle. It has been said that the plant was named for Achilles of Homer?s Iliad, who supposedly treated soldier?s wounds with it. During the Civil War, yarrow was widely used to treat wounds and became known as “soldiers? woundwort.”
Yarrow varies in taste and in potency depending on where it grows and at what stage of growth it is in. The best time to collect yarrow for tea is right before the flowers are produced, using only the new succulent leaves. An ethanol extract of yarrow has mosquito- repelling properties. More that 120 chemical compounds have been identified in yarrow, which is probably why it has been associated with so many different remedies.
This perennial wild edible tastes bitter but after all, bitter is generally better for your health. Yarrow contains many vitamins and minerals, and is used in the treatment of a wide range of disorders. Yarrow is particularly valuable for stopping the flow of blood, treating colds, fevers, treating wounds, kidney diseases, menstrual pain, and much more. It also contains the anti-inflammatory agent azulene, though the content of this varies even between plants in the same habitat.
Spacing: 18’′ – 24″
Height: 10′′ – 36′′
Optimum Soil pH: 6 to 6.5
Days To Maturity: 55
Sowing Method: Start Indoors
Plant in spring, spacing plants 1 to 2 feet apart. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.