The yarrow flower – which is a member of the extensive asteraceae family – is known by many names, from common yarrow all the way to old man’s pepper. Sprouting from the genus achillea, this plant is native to areas of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, North America, and regions of Asia. The leaves of this flower may be either tripinnate or bipinnate and have a distinctively feathery appearance. The inflorescent head of this blossom may have between 4 to 9 bracts, and they all contain between 15 to 40 disk flowers, and 3 to 8 ray flowers which develop in a round or oval shaped cluster. These clusters may form in colors of light yellow, pink or white.
The yarrow flower got it’s scientific name – achillea millefolium – from the Greek myth of Achilles, who was said to have brought the plant into existence by dropping the rusted metal scraping of his spear to the earth below him, where flowers then sprang forth. In other stories it is said that the ancient Greeks frequently used yarrow flowers to staunch the bleeding and prevent infection from the wounds of fallen soldiers. Today, the yarrow flower is well loved by herbalists and holistic healers, as this plant has a number of medicinal uses. They are sometimes dried and placed into capsules to help detoxify the body; they are used in teas to treat everything from poor digestion to headaches, and poultices are sometimes created to help in curing skin problems, heal infections and stop nosebleeds. In addition to having a myriad of curative effects, the yarrow flower has quite a history in magic. The dried flowers are occasionally used in divination – from reading your future by the way the leaves fall, to divining the names of future lovers. They are also used as talismans to protect yourself or others from evil. The leaves may seen scattered along doorways to keep bad people from entering your home; tied to the cradle of a newborn to keep its soul safe, or simply as an amulet to protect against physical, emotional or financial harm. Yarrow flowers are also favored by crafters, as these plants are easy to dry and arrange into a number of artistic pieces.
Yarrow flowers are often thought to represent both healing and inspiration. Many people give these blossoms as gifts to symbolize their concern for the recipient’s well-being, or to help them find joy and illumination in their lives. Although these flowers can look lovely on their own, they are frequently placed in large arrangements – sometimes as a filler plant. However, there are many ways that you can present it – from a fresh or dried bouquet to a handcrafted piece of protective, meaningful jewelry.