Achillea ptarmica (Sneezewort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Sneezeweed, Pearly Yarrow
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; disturbed sandy or gravelly soil; roadsides, railroads, fields, waste areas, gardens
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: flat Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Flattish, branching clusters of a few to several flowers at the ends of branching stems in the upper plant. Individual flowers are 1/3 to 2/3 inch across, have 7 to 15 white ray flowers (petals), notched at the tips, and pale gray-brown center disc flowers.

[photo of double flowers] Double flowers with 20+ rays are common. The bracts surrounding the base of the flower are in 3 layers, green with brown edging, covered in matted hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate, lance-linear, 1 to 4 inches long, less than ¼ inch wide, hairless except along the midrib on the underside, finely toothed around the edges, and stalkless. Stems are mostly erect, usually branched, hairy on the upper stems and usually smooth below. Plants can form colonies from spreading rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

Flower heads become seed heads about ¼ inch in diameter. Fruit is a dry seed about 2mm long.


An infrequent weed in Minnesota, Sneezewort has been cultivated globally and occasionally escapes cultivation. The flowers resemble Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), which is more densely flowered, the flowers have only 4 to 6 rays, and leaves are finely divided and feathery. The double-flowered form of Sneezewort, known as “the pearl”, is common in the garden trade and both forms can persist in the wild.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Roberta O - North Carlton County
on: 2017-07-29 21:42:58

We found the double-flowered form of Sneezewort for the past few years. There is more blossoming each year.

Posted by: Matthew W - Carlton Co.
on: 2017-08-25 15:54:04

I found this in Carlton Co. about 1990. It think it was the double flowered variety.

Posted by: Jeffrey F - Superior National Forest
on: 2017-09-08 16:25:28

Found this in Superior National forest and had formed dense monoculture patches. When I pulled a few individuals for vouchering, I noticed that it has rhizomes which explains why it was growing in such densities and excluding all other grass and forb vegetation. I will have this posted on EDDMapS soon.

Posted by: Peter - Two Harbors
on: 2022-04-13 12:57:09

I found a patch of the double-flowered form growing in a patch of thimbleberries near a cemetery.

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