Monday, April 29, 2013

Yellow Yarrow Yard

For the record, I also thought about writing this post around "Yummy Yellow Yolks," because I'm a fan of eggs. Yarrow is just too special not to write about, however. My mother used to plant yellow yarrow when we lived on the farm, and my mother's absolute favorite color is yellow. Whenever I see the bright sunny color, I think of her.

When I looked up yellow yarrow for this post, I was met with a surprise: yellow yarrow is not what we thought it was, at least not officially. In fact, there are two different types of yellow yarrow that get confused. The one that my mother used to plant is actually officially known as fernleaf yarrow for its common name, and Achillea filipendulina as its scientific name. It is always yellow.

Fernleaf yarrow, or Achillea filipendulina
(the kind my mother used to plant)
Source: Wikipedia
But there are two types of Yarrow that are always yellow, and only one of them is officially known by the common name yellow yarrow, or golden yarrow: Eriophyllum confertiflorum. Both types of yellow yarrow are in the Asteraceae family, commonly known as the daisy or sunflower family.

There is also a plant commonly known as ... guess what? Common yarrow, or simply, yarrow. The scientific name of common yarrow is Achillea millefolium, and it is always white in color. Wait, it's about to get even more confusing!

Eriophyllum confertiflorum:
copyright by Curtis Clark,
from Wikipedia
The yarrow that is known as yellow or golden yarrow isn't really known by any other common names. But that yarrow isn't actually commonly thought of as yellow yarrow, at least around California, where yellow yarrow is actually a native. When you mention yellow yarrow, most people think of the variety planted by my mother, which is native to southeastern Europe.

Achillea millefolium,
from Wikipedia user O. Pichard
And then the confusion deepens, because common yarrow and fernleaf yarrow are commonly known by many other names, and some of those names overlap. Common yarrow is also known as yarrow, gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal. Fernleaf yarrow is also known as yarrow, milfoil, and nosebleed.

See how one of the other fernleaf common names is simply "yarrow"? That's because many people think that all yarrow is yellow like the yarrow my mother used to plant. Some people don't realize that white yarrow even exists. Perhaps that is because white yarrow doesn't really stand out, while yellow yarrow bursts with color.

Bright yellow yarrow is a plant that everyone will notice right away. That happy yellow color is enough to brighten anyone's day. It's gorgeous and brings a smile to your face, just like my mother.


  1. It's certainly a beautiful plant whatever the color or the name. I don't think I've ever seen it grown here in the south. I guess maybe the hot sun isn't at all friendly to this lovely plant!

  2. Thanks for the bright post on a cloudy day! Hope you have a wonderful Monday.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (my poetry blog)

  3. I love the color yellow. I just wish I could wear it. Only certain kinds of people can pull off yellow. I'm so envious of them.

  4. What a mouthful...almost a tongue twister! Not heard of Yarrow before, it looks very pretty and y can't go wrong with yellow flowers :)

  5. I've seen these but never knew what they were called. A splash of floral yellow is a bright sight to see.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  6. I'll have to get some for my yard. I love gardening, but actually never knew the name for those plants. Fun to learn something new.
    Kids Math Teacher

  7. First time I'm coming a cross this flower. It's pretty. A good lift for the spirit.

  8. What a nice remembrance of your mother. Funny how certain things can trigger those memories.

  9. Interesting post! I always use herbal remedies in my historical romances :-)

  10. Great tribute to your mother. Yellow is one of my favorite colors, so such a beautiful flower would no doubt make me happy ... probbaly true for many people.

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  11. Yarrow is a new word to me but I am sure it would have brightened any ones day. Both golden and yellow yarrows are so pleasing to the eyes. No wonder ur mom loved them
    Congrats for almost reaching the end of the challenge :)

  12. Not sure I've seen those before, they are very pretty though.

  13. New flowers and word to me too. But they are very pleasing to eyes, yellow is one wonderful colorful color.

    Congrats on almost completing the challenge! :)