Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L. Var. occidentatlis DC.) is a common plant found throughout the Basin and Range region. It belongs to the Composite (Asteraceae) Family, but can be confused with members of the Carrot (Apiaceae) Family.
Yarrow is an aromatic plant that has a very recognizable, pungent smell, which is quite strong especially if you crush up the leaves or steams. It can grow up to 2 feet in height. The flower heads are small, but bunch together to farm large, flat flower clusters. Both the stems and leaves are hairy. The leaves are pinnately lobed, with hundreds of small, fine lobes, giving them a fernlike appearance.
Being widespread, Yarrow can be found within aspen, conifer, sagebrush, riparian, meadow and alpine communities, up to 11,000 feet. And although widespread, it is rarely thought of as a problem weed. It typically begins to bloom in May and then continues blooming throughout the summer.
Yarrow is known for its medicinal properties. A poultice of the leaves can be used to help heal and disinfect wounds such as cuts and scrapes. It is also good for normalizing the digestive and circulatory systems. In addition, it has been used in remedies for for fevers and colds. It is often taken in the form of a tea. You can use fresh or dried plant parts to make a tea. However, be aware that using wild plants for food and medicine can be dangerous and should only be done with help of an expert.
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