Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow)
|Also known as:
|part shade, sun; fields, prairies, open woods. roadsides
|June - September
|1 to 3 feet
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Flat clusters 2 to 4 inches across at the end of branching stems in the upper part of the plant. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across and have 4 to 6 white to pink ray flowers (petals), notched at the tips, and cream colored or pale yellow disc flowers.
Leaves are narrow and finely divided, feathery and fern-like, up to 6 inches long and 1 inch across and are progressively smaller towards the top of the stem. The leaves and/or stem are often covered in fine hairs, but not always.
According to Flora of North America (FNA) this species is native, though morphologically variable. FNA goes on to explain that some early botanists considered the variations separate species, others considered them variations of a single species. It seems now this is a Northern Hemisphere species that has hybridized sufficiently between North American and introduced plants to become a single, variable species. While most references treat it as native to North America, the DNR is undecided about its status in MN. We'll go with native for now. Per the county distribution map, Common Yarrow has been found in every Minnesota county except Stevens and Waseca, but in all likelihood it exists there, just hasn't been recorded. While the individual flowers may resemble Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica), the latter has larger and fewer flowers with more than 6 rays, and leaves that are lance-linear, not finely divided.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Lake counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?