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Manitoba Museum

Aster (Asteraceae)

Common Yarrow

Achillea millefolium L.

Common Yarrow is widespread throughout North America, and has been used by Indigenous people for medicinal purposes. It is often found in gardens, but spreads from a rhizome and can become weedy. Its flowers have a distinctive smell, and provide nectar and pollen that is especially attractive to butterflies, wasps, flies, and bees. The leaves have a bitter taste, and most mammals find them an unappealing meal.

Flower Colour:

  • White

Flowering Season:

  • Summer

Flowering Months:

  • August
  • July
  • June

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare

Physical Appearance:

Common Yarrow is a perennial with one to several hairy stems that grow to 100 cm tall from an underground rhizome. Its alternate, lance-shaped leaves are hairy and twice divided into fine leaflets, giving them a feathery appearance. Multiple flower heads are arranged into flat, dome-shaped clusters on flowering branches. Each head is made up of five ray (often with notched tips) and 5 to 25 disc florets. The single-seeded fruits are oblong, flattened, and lack tufts of hair.

Similar Species:

Prairie Everlasting (Antennaria neglecta Greene)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are typically available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. This plant can be grown from seeds, and care should be taken to control its weedy tendencies.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland/Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Beaches
  • Forests
  • Meadows
  • Prairies
  • Roadsides
  • Shores

Moisture Conditions:

  • Dry
  • Moderate
  • Moist

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Clay
  • Loam
  • Sand
Common Yarrow