Re: [pfaf] Yarrow (Weeds)
- We all have our weeds
We have weeds in our gardens that we were happy with as pioneer plants earlier - as the gardens develop we are replacing the pioneer plants with perennial plants of more long term usefulness (and annuals that we feel we can't do without :)
There was some interesting scientific discussion about the I Ching and the form of the Yarrow plant. The I Ching is based around a number system that mirrors natural growth and change - the same numbers are found in growing (and changing) things, including the form of Achillea millefolium plants.
For many years now I have wanted to grow my own Yarrow to observe the form as the plant grows, and to see whether it really does complement the I Ching as suggested.
YARROW Achillea millefolium
( from http://snakeroot.net/farm/TansyLovageYarrow.shtml )
Originating in Europe, this hardy, highly viable aromatic perennial grows to 3 feet. Flower heads vary from white to blue, yellow, salmon and red, depending upon individual plant. Tiny flowers appear in flat clusters 3-4 inches across. Fine feathery lace-like foliage completely covers the stalks. Yarrow has been found in 60,000 year old Neanderthal burial caves, indicating its been used by humans for a very long time. The Chinese I Ching uses 50 yarrow stalks tossed on the ground as a method of divining the future. Forty six American Indian tribes also used it.
Propagates by seed or root division in either spring or fall. Clumps should be divided every 3-4 years to stimulate growth. Prefers an acid soil of pH 4.5 to 7. Extremely drought resistant, and will grow in gravel. Likes full sun.
Drying: Harvest plants as they come into bloom in June and July. Essential oil content is maximum at the onset of flowering. Hang to dry. Yarrow continues to blossom into October. To keep leaves from turing dark, dry quickly at 90-100 degrees out of the direct sun.
In the kitchen yarrow is an occasional stand-in for cinnamon or nutmeg.
Garden Uses: During the gardening year, keep an eye on your yarrow. At some point you will notice that it has attracted dozens of ladybugs. These feeding ladybugs will stick around to feed on the pests in your garden.
Hoverflies, robber flies, 1/4 inch long chalcid wasps, and braconid wasps all use yarrows nectar as a food source. Each of these will then stick around to attack your garden pests.
Yarrow increases the essential oils of plants growing nearby.
Herbal Uses: The crushed leaves are an astringent (stops bleeding) and helps cuts heal. Legend has it that the Greek god Achilles used it for healing his soldiers after battle. It is also said to reduce inflammation, increase perspiration, relieve indigestion and has diuretic effects.
Three-Fever Tea: Add 1 part elder flowers, 1 part yarrow leaves, and 1 part peppermint to 2 cups of water. Pack into quart jar, cover with steeping water and let set 3-4 hours. Pour out, add honey if desired. Enjoy hot or cold.