Achillea millefolium, White Yarrow

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Achillea millefolium

Perennial with white 3" flowers in tight heads, rising 2 ft. above fernlike, fragrant foliage. Used as a lawn substitute and in revegetation; found in many different situations. Excellent cut flower and good reseeder. Good dried flower for winter bouquets. Drought-tolerant.

Part of the sunflower family, Achillea millefolium grows in full sun, but if used for a lawn substitute, it is usually more satisfactory through the summer with a bit of shade, unless on the coast. As it is soft to the touch (without flower stalks) and spreads through rhizomes, we are experimenting with using it as part of a grassless “coastal lawn,” with other low-growing native herbaceous species, like coast strawberry, Pt. Reyes checkerbloom, and coast lotus. It is suitable for light traffic, not a soccer field.

Cut every few months, and don’t allow it to set seed. Leaves are aromatic, and foliage color ranges from dark green to silver gray. If let bloom in spring and early summer, its flowers will attract bees and butterflies. It is also found in Europe, and in California, its local forms should be treasured.