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Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects: Common Yarrow (Achillea millifolium)

Achillea millefoliumA native of Europe this herbaceous perennial is widely distributed in the US growing in disturbed soil such as roadsides, old fields, and waste sites. The plants spread rapidly by rhizomes and are considered invasive in some areas. Yarrow is a member of the aster family (Asteraceae) and has very small flowers in flower heads that are produced in large flat topped clusters in summer. The species is white but yellow, red, and orange cultivars are available. The dark green fern-like leaves are up to eight inches long, highly dissected and aromatic. Outstanding cultivars include “Cerise Queen’, ‘Fire King’, ‘Red Beauty’ and ‘Paprika’. The generic name, Achillea, is derived from the Homeric hero Achilles, and probably refers to the wound healing properties of the plant. The specific epithet millifolium comes from the Latin mille meaning thousand and folium meaning leaf, referring to the highly dissected leaves.

Type: Herbaceous perennial
Size: 1-2’ H x 5’ W
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average to lean, medium moist, well-drained; drought tolerant
Hardiness: Zones 3-9
Beneficial Insects Attracted: Lacewings, ladybugs, syrphid flies, parasitic wasps, damsel bugs, and bees