Common yarrow

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Achillea millefolium L.

Common name(s): common yarrow, milfoil, western yarrow

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial herb

-fibrous roots

-spreads with rhizomes

-leaves are divided and hairy

– generally flowers June through September in ME

– in New England, A. millefolium L. ssp. lanulosa (Nutt.) Piper; see Go Botany webpage


-disturbed land

-open forests


-drought tolerant

Natural History:

-used by the Pawnee and Chippewa tribes

  • used the stalk as a pain reliever
  • steamed the leaves to relieve headaches


Haines, A., Farnsworth, E., Morrison, G., & New England Wild Flower Society. (2011). New England Wildflower Society’s Flora Novae Angliae: A manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. Framingham, MA: New England Wild Flower Society. p. 371.

Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.

Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Hurteau, Matthew D. “COMMON YARROW Achillea Millefollium L.” Plant Fact Sheet, USDA National Plant Data Center , Nov. 2003,