YARROW MILFOIL OLD MAN'S PEPPER NOSEBLEED
(Achillea Millefolium) Thistle family
Flower-heads - Grayish-white, rarely pinkish, in a hard, close,
flat-topped, compound cluster. Ray florets 4 to 6, pistillate,
fertile; disk florets yellow, afterward brown, perfect, fertile.
Stem: Erect, from horizontal rootstalk, 1 to 2 ft. high, leafy,
sometimes hairy. Leaves:
Very finely dissected (Millefolium =
thousand leaf), narrowly oblong in outline.
Preferred Habitat - Waste land, dry fields, banks, roadsides.
Flowering Season - June-November.
Distribution - Naturalized from Europe and Asia throughout North
Everywhere this commonest of common weeds confronts us; the
compact, dusty-looking clusters appearing not by waysides only,
around the world, but in the mythology, folklore, medicine, and
literature of many peoples. Chiron, the centaur, who taught its
virtues to Achilles that he might make an ointment to heal his
Myrmidons wounded in the siege of Troy, named the plant for this
favorite pupil, giving his own to the beautiful blue corn-flower
(Centaurea Cyanus). As a love-charm; as an herb-tea brewed by
crones to cure divers ailments, from loss of hair to the ague; as
an inducement to nosebleed for the relief of congestive headache;
as an ingredient of an especially intoxicating beer made by the
Swedes, it is mentioned in old books. Nowadays we are satisfied
merely to admire the feathery masses of lace-like foliage formed
by young plants, to whiff the wholesome, nutty, autumnal odor of
its flowers, or to wonder at the marvelous scheme it employs to
overrun the earth.
Like the daisy, each small flower in a cluster, as symmetrically
arranged as brain coral, is made up of a large number of minute
but perfect florets, suited to attract insects by making a better
show than each could do alone, and by offering them accessible
feeding places close together, where they may feast with minimum
loss of time. Simultaneous cross-fertilization of many florets
must be effected by every visitor crawling over a cluster. The
florets in each disk open in regular array toward the centers. At
the expense of stamens, which are absent in the grayish-white ray
florets, they have attained their development, another instance
of "progress by loss" from the evolutionary standpoint. By
prolonging its season of bloom to get relief from the fierce
competition for insect visitors in midsummer; by increase through
seeds, and runners too; by contenting itself with neglected
corners of the earth, the yarrow gives us many valuable lessons
on how to succeed.
DOG'S or FETID CAMOMILE; MAYWEED; PIG-STY DAISY; DILLWEED;
Previous: MOONSHINE COTTONWEED NONESOPRETTY
|ADD TO EBOOK