Common Yarrow
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Common Yarrow
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Common Yarrow, Sneezewort, Soldier's friend, Thousand-leaf • Hindi: Gandrain, Puthkanda, भूतकॆशी Bhut Kesi • Kannada: ರೋಜಮಾರಿ Rojamaari • Marathi: Rojmaari • Tamil: Achchilliya • Konkani: Rajmari • Urdu: Tukhm-e gandana, Buiranjasif, Brinjasuf ﺗﹹﺨﻢ ﮔﻨﺪﻧﺎ
Botanical name: Achillea millefolium    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Achillea lanulosa, Achillea magna

Yarrows are herbaceous perennials, most with fragrant lacy foliage and small daisy-like flowerheads borne in rounded corymbs. Common yarrow has leaves that are grayish green, aromatic, and very finely dissected, like soft dainty ferns. The plant forms dense spreading mats of lacy leaves from rhizomes that creep beneath the ground surface. In summer yarrow sends up erect, grayish, usually unbranched stems, 1-3 ft tall. The fifty or more small, about 0.25 in across with whitish flowerheads are borne in flat to domed clusters. Flower have white, 5-ray petals that surround tiny yellow to light cream-coloured disc florets, each flower head is 3-5 mm across; occur as independent and terminal round or flat-topped clusters; clusters are 6-30 cm across. The plant may have been named after the Greek person Achilles. Within India, Common Yarrow is found in the Himalayan region of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand in an altitude range of 1050-3600 m.
Medicinal uses: In Greek mythology it is said to have been used by Achilles to heal his warriors during the battle of Troy - hence the name "Achillea". In Anglo-Saxon times it was used as a charm to ward off evil and illness - and as a treatment for wounds, much as Achilles used it, giving it a common name for the period of 'Soldier's Wound-Wort'. Yarrow has been used to stop bleeding by inserting leaves into the nostrils of wounded soldiers. Druids used Yarrow to predict seasonal weather. In Chinese legends, Yarrow was used to predict the future.

Identification credit: Shaista Ahmad Photographed in Delhi, Kerala & Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh.

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