There are over 100 species of Yarrow but only a
relatively small number
are common in commerce. The most popular are the colorful varieties of A. millefolium.
These yarrows spread out from a center crown by popping up new growth
along rhizomatous roots that travel just below the surface of the soil.
Under most garden circumstances, they make lazy, sprawling garden
companions for tall shrubs or soft ground covers for open sunny spaces.
It is the tender loving care of extra water and fertilizer that causes
this lax habit. In forests and on roadsides, these plants, deprived of
summer moisture, remain small and sturdy. Used as a ground cover,
Yarrows can be mowed after bloom to
promote low growth and fewer dead flower stems.
Like many plants bred for
color, as the hybrids naturalize and disperse seed they eventually return to the
color of origin. For the humble yarrow, this is white. It is this yarrow
that has many names, like Soldier's Woundwort, many stories and legends and many traditional medicinal uses. Thus, we offer the
White Yarrow for those who also wish to use it to
staunch bleeding or reduce external inflammation. Tuck a few in and around the
garden for those times nippers mistake fingers for plant stems.
Or, as Euell Gibbons puts it in
the Healthful Herbs, "I am sorry that I am
not familiar enough with the use of Yarrow in conjuring up the devil to
explain how it is done. I never need such charms or spells to summon the
devil. All it takes is a few idle thoughts and a moment of inattention,
and the old boy is right at my elbow suggesting something we can do or
something we can leave undone."