Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A thousand leaves, a thousand uses

Yarrow, still blooming, between rainstorms:

Achillea millefolium; aka Thousand-leaved clover, Angel Flower, Squirrel Tail, etc.

My guide, Plants of Coastal BC, has the usual brief description, then a long section on the BC First Nations medicinal uses of the plant, broken down by tribal groups. Each one used yarrow for a different purpose: "... as a poultice; ... a sore throat gargle;" for childbirth, to purifiy the blood, for headaches and as an eyewash, for diarrhea and as a bath for invalids. "The Squamish used it to cure measles." Elsewhere, it also repelled mosquitoes and prevented baldness, cured toothache, angina, and flatulence, and drew the venom out of spider bites. And so on and so on ...

My opinion, offered tentatively, is that the plant is so common, so attractive, so pleasantly aromatic, that people everywhere decided it must be good for something. And when they tried it and got better from what ailed them, as people generally do, they attributed it to the yarrow. Either that, or the plant is miraculous, which I doubt.

And it's edible, as well. I found a recipe for pasta with a yarrow dressing, which sounds interesting enough to try some day.

And then, it's just beautiful.

Each "flower" is a cluster of about 5 ray flowers, with the tiny, cream, disk flowers in the centre.

Zooming in. Sometimes the ray flowers are pinkish; these are waxy white.

This specimen found on Tyee Spit.


  1. Wow - I don't think there's anything blooming around us any more. - Margy

  2. I think you're slightly cooler over on that side of the water.

  3. One of the best wines in the world ~ Pyramid Valley Angel Flower Pinot Noir from New Zealand. I LOVE yarrow. :)


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