There are about 100 species of yarrow, but only 2 are commonly used as cut flowers. They are very successful garden plants in the hot dry Australian summers. In summer the plants produce large, flat flower-heads (up to 15 cm across) made up of clusters of small flowers at the top of each stem. Flower colour can be white, yellow, orange, pink or red. Leaves are numerous and very fine, resembling a fern: A. millefolium means ‘thousand leaves’ in Latin.
Yarrow is commonly grown as a field crop Most are grown in Vic, and NSW or QLD in winter.
Language: Healing & comfort
Types: Achillea millefolium (red), A. filipendulina (yellow).
What to look for:
- Buy when all of the flowers in a bunch are open and brightly coloured;
- Pollen should be visible and shed when bunches are shaken;
- Avoid bunches with faded flowers, or that drop flowers when bunches are shaken.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the bottom half of each stem and wash thoroughly.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem and place in water immediately.
- Always use a preservative as this will help keep open flowers looking fresh.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every 2 to 3 days.
- Revive wilted stems by placing in warm water for 1 to 2 hours.
- Very sensitive to ethylene. Keep them away from fruit, car exhausts and cigarette smoke.
- Yarrow make great dried flowers. Hang bunches upside-down in a dry well ventilated room.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
The genus was named after the Greek hero Achilles.
According to the Illiad, Achilles’ men used yarrow to treat wounds. Not surprisingly, in the Language of Flowers, yarrow means ‘good health’. One of its folk names is ‘nosebleed’, a reference to its ability to stop bleeding. It was also thought to ward off colds and the flu.
Botanical Name: Achillea millefolium (red), A. filipendulina (yellow)
Common Names: Milfoil, Sneezewort, Yarrow
Stem Length: 30 to 80 cm
Country of Origin: Europe
Available Colours: Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow