Yarrow, or Milfoil (Achillea millefolium)

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"And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.   And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31)
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Wild Flowers of Sleepy Hollow Lake
- Yarrow, or Milfoil (Achillea millefolium) -

(Yarrow - 01)  This is the common yarrow or milfoil. The name, "milfoil" comes from its Latin name millefolium, meaning "thousand-leaved."  There are five other known species of yarrow in the United States.  The flowers of the yarrow form in a flat-topped corymb (a formation in which the lower flowering stem branches are longer than the higher ones, so as to form a flat top).
(Yarrow - 01a)  This closer look at the yarrow shows why it was called "thousand-leaved."  The fern-like leaves branch alternately along the wildflower's stem, and then branch again in opposing frilly projections.
(Yarrow - 02)  In this photo we can get a closer look at how several flowering stem branches form a relatively flat-topped corymb.  The yarrow escaped from cultivation after its importation from Europe where it was used as a medicinal plant.  The yarrow's scientific name "Achillea" comes from the legend that Achilles discovered its healing properties and used it to treat the wounds of his soldiers at the siege of Troy.
(Yarrow - 03)  In this bee's eye view of the yarrow flowers, we can see why it is a member of the composite family (according to several of our sources).  The little flowering "domes" are really composed of many individual flowers, each having four petals, a pistil and stamens.  The broad white petal-like structures that surround the flowering domes are most likely ray-flowers, though we could not confirm this in the literature.  The USDA classifies yarrow as a member of the aster family, with no explanation as to the reason.  Our other references indicate that asters are also members of the composite family.
(Yarrow - 04)  This is another yarrow plant that we spotted growing along the side of the road.  Yarrow are native to Europe and Asia, and was most likely brought to the North America by settlers who were interested in herbal medicine.
(Yarrow - 04a)  The frilly leaves in this photo belong to the yarrow and the plainly illustrate why this wild flower was named "millefolium", because it looks like it has a thousand leaves.
(Yarrow - 04b)  This is a closer look at some of the mature yarrow or milfoil flowers.
(Yarrow - 05)  This is a slightly more elevated photo of the yarrow flowering corymbs.
(Yarrow - 05a)  When looking at the yarrow's flowering corymbs closely, as we are in this photo, each corymb looks like a bouquet. We always marvel at the intricate detail contained in God's creation.
(Yarrow - 06)  This is a side view of a cluster of yarrow that were growing along the side of the road.
(Yarrow - 06a)  In this side view of the yarrow we have a good look at the arrangement of the stems, leaves, and corymbs. Yarrow is a perennial herb that produces one to several stems (8 to 16 inches tall, though we've seen taller ones) from a fibrous underground horizontal rootstock (rhizome). The USDA says that it is known to be both native and introduced. 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 hairiness (pubescence). Leaf blades are lance-shaped in outline, but are finely divided. Overall leaf dimensions range from to 1 inch wide by 1 to 6 inches long. The flower heads (inflorescence) have a flattened dome shape (with approximately 10-20 ray flowers. The flowers are whitish to yellowish-white. The plant commonly persists from May through June.
(Yarrow - 07)  This is another photo of a yarrow that was blooming along the side of the road.
(Yarrow - 07a)  As we narrow our view of the flowering yarrow to single corymb, we can see more of the detail of the ray flowers, which are not distributed evenly around the disk flowers.  The ray flowers are also toothed on the outer edge and look something like a classic tulip design.  We have also observed that some of the individual blooms have 5 ray flowers.
(Yarrow - 07b)  In this photo of the yarrow, we can see the remaining dew drops that formed over night still clinging to the ray flowers.
(Yarrow - 08)  In this photo, we are focusing on the yarrow's stem and leaves, which give this wildflower its other name, milfoil.
(Yarrow - 08a)  In this close up photo of the yarrow or milfoil stem, we can observe the grooving in the main stem, and also in the lower portion of the branch going toward the right.  We have also noticed that the main leaves see to grow alternately along the stem, and that there are numerous smaller leaves growing for the stem and branches.
(Yarrow - 09)  This is a cluster of yarrow flower buds.

(Yarrow - 09a)  This is a close up look at the yarrow flower buds, and one of the wildflower's visitors (bottom center).
(Yarrow - 10)  This is an early morning view of the yarrow in full bloom, and covered with dew drops.
(Yarrow - 10a)  This is a bee's eye view of some of the individual flower clusters, each of which contains many flowers, as do other members of the aster family.
(Yarrow - 11)  This is another view of the myriad of flowers that comprise the yarrow bloom.
(Yarrow - 11a)  This is another close up look at some of the individual yarrow flower clusters.
(Yarrow - 12)  This is another look at the yarrow flowers.

| Wild Flowers of SHL | Art and Photos |

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