INTRODUCTION Achillea millefolium L

Achillea millefolium L., commonly known as yarrow or common yarrow. It is a angiospermic plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe and North America (Gualtiero Simonetti et al, 1990). In Kashmir, it mainly grows in hilly areas of Cheshma Shahi, Budgam (towards Doodhpathri), Baramulla, Kishtwar (towards Symthan Pass) and North Eastern Himalayas. In Kashmir Valley, it is locally called Pahli gassa/Panjoli/Biranjasif etc. It has been introduced as a feed for livestock in places like New Zealand and Australia (RNZIH-Horticulture pages, 2015-09-02). Flowering tops are used to cure tooth ache, head ache and is antipyretic. However, it is a weed in those places and sometimes also in its native regions (“Eliminate Yarrow-2015-9-2). In New Mexico and Southern Colorado, it is called plumajillo (Spanish for ‘little feather’) from its leaf shape and texture (Dodson and Dunmire, 2007). Yarrow was also known as herbal militaris, for its use in stanching the flow of blood from wounds.

Other common names for this species are gordaldo, nose bleed plant, old man`s pepper, devil`s nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier`s woundwort, thousand leaf and thousand seal. A.millefolium is an erect, herbaceous plant that produces one to many stems 0.2-1m in height and has a spreading rhizomatous root form. Leaves are evenly distributed along the stem, with the leaves near the middle and bottom of the stem being the largest. The leaves have varying degrees of hairness (pubescence). The leaves are 4-12 cm long, bipinnate or tripinnate, almost feathery and arranged spirally on the stems. The leaves are cauline and more or less clasping (“FNA” Missouri Botanical Garden 2013).

Fig.2: Photo of the leaves of the plant Achillea millefolium

The inflorescence has 5 to 10 phyllaries containing ray and disk florets which are white to pink in colour. The generally 4 to 9 ray flowers and are ovate to round. Disk flowers range from 16 to 42. The inflorescence is produced in a flat-topped capitulum cluster and the inflorescences are visited by many insects featuring a generalised pollination system. The small achene-like fruits are called cypsela. The plant has a strong, sweet smell and is similar to that of flowers of chrysanthemums. Yarrow grows from sea level to 3150m in elevation. The plant commonly flowers from the month of May to July and produce an average yield of of 43000 plants per acre, with a total dry weight of 10500 lbs (A Grower’s Guide). Achillea millefolium is also cultivated as an ornamental plant. It is planted in gardens and natural landscapes for setting of diverse climates and styles. The plant prefers well drained soil and full sun, but can grown in less ideal conditions (“Fine Gardening magazine Plant Guide-31 january 2013, Missori Botanical Garden horticultural treatment. 31 January 2013, “Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centre Native Plant Database: 31 January 2013). Common yarrow is frequently found in the mildly distributed soil of grasslands and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring.

Optimal growth conditions of Achillea millifolium
a) Sun exposure: Full sun
b) Soil type: Normal or sandy or clay
c) Soil pH: Neutral or alkaline or acidic
d) Soil moisture: Dry
e) Care level: Easy

Scientific classification of the plant Achillea millefolium
Kingdom : Plantae
Division : Angiospermae
Order : Asterales
Family : Asteraceae
Genus : Achillea
Species : A. millifolium