Achillea millefolium L.


Achillea millefolium plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - To +70cm tall, from rhizomes, herbaceous, lanate, branching in upper half, erect, fragrant when crushed.

Achillea millefolium stemStem close-up.

Leaves - Alternate, sessile, linear to lanceolate or oblong, twice or ternately pinnatifid, lanate below, sparse lanate above. Basal leaves to +25cm long. Cauline leaves typically to +10cm long, +3cm broad.

Achillea millefolium leaf Achillea millefolium leaf
Basal and stem leaves.

Inflorescence - Flat or domed terminal cymose arrangement of flower heads.

Achillea millefolium inflorescenceInflorescences.

Involucre - 5mm tall(long), 3mm in diameter. Phyllaries in 2-3 series, with scarious margins, lanate pubescent, imbricate. Outer phyllaries shorter than inner.

Achillea millefolium involucreInvolucre(s) close-up.

Ray flowers - Ligules typically 5 per flower head, white to pinkish, 5mm long, clawed. Expanded portion of ligule 3mm long, 2-3mm broad, emarginate or shallow 3-toothed at apex. Claw 2mm long, greenish, glandular. Achene flattened. Pappus none.

Disk flowers - Disk to 3mm in diameter. Flowers typically 5-20 per flower head, fertile. Corolla tube to -2mm long, greenish, 5-lobed. Lobes white. Achenes flattened. Pappus none. Receptacle slightly convex, with chaff equaling disk flowers.

Achillea millefolium flowersFlowers close-up.

Flowering - May - November.

Habitat - Roadsides, railroads, disturbed sites, pastures, fields, prairies.

Origin - Native to the U.S. and Europe.

Other info. - The plant has a strong odor when bruised or crushed.
According to Steyermark there is another subspecies in Missouri, A. millefolium millefolium, which can be differentiated from this subspecies by a broader, more flat-topped inflorescence.
This second subspecies may have two forms, one with pink or rose colored flowers, and a second with white flowers, glabrous or slightly hairy stems, and glabrous to slightly hairy lanceolate to ovate leaves.
Of course there are cultivars of Achillea out there, as shown below. One yellow flowered plant is named Achillea Moonshine.

Achillea moonshine plant Achillea purple cultivar

Photographs taken at Hermes Nursery, Kansas City, Kansas, 07-14-00, and in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 5-24-03 and 6-16-05 (DETenaglia); also at Matson Hill County Park, St. Charles County, MO, 5-17-2012, and at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 5-27-2015 (SRTurner).