Finely dissected grey foliage and butter yellow flower heads contrast wonderfully on Achillea clypeolata.
Shining silver & butter yellow
Achillea clypeolata makes a splendid show in the dry garden.
As it is long blooming over summer, while the silver foliage is decorative all year round..
Excellent cut flowers
Achillea clypeolata provides excellent cut flowers of commercial quality, with strong, easily cleaned stems.
Plus those clear, sunshine yellow flower heads shine for ages in a vase. .
Aromatic, insect repelling foliage
Lovely silver, feathery foliage is a feature all year round, growing in a tight, neat clump, without any invasive runners.
Achillea foliage has a pleasant, spicy aroma to us, though insects dislike the scent.
Fortunately the aromatic oils persist strongly when the leaves are dried.
So fragrant potpourri and insect repellent sachets have traditionally been made with dried Achillea leaves.
Hardy, tough & water-wise
This plant is certainly unflappable in tough going.
So it tolerates hot and dry conditions well; copes with summer humidity; smiles at hard frosts; and shrugs off periods of dry. It even thrives in poor soils.
Growing: Achillea clypeolata
– Height with flowers: Flower stems are approx. 60cm. tall, and the flowers sit well clear of the foliage clump.
– Width: Neat tight clump to a diameter of approx. 40cm. with no spreading runners. Not an invasive plant.
– Position: Full Sun. Tolerates summer heat and humidity well, as well as periods of dry.
– Water-wise: A very water wise plant, with minimal water requirement.
– Soil: Very un-fussy about soil type, though good drainage is essential. Will tolerate poor soil conditions well. Achillea flower production is best if grown a little hingry. Overfeeding produces leaf growth at the expense of strong flower stems. Best kept lean and mean. Excellent in sandy, or rocky soils. Good choice for coastal gardens.
– Frost: Extremely frost hardy, and well able to cope with hard frosts to below -20C.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial clump with pretty ferny silver foliage all year round. Makes a neat clump with no runners.
– Beneficial to wildlife: Bees and also Butterflies delight in visiting the flowers for both pollen and nectar.
Achillea also attracts beneficial ladybirds.
Birds seem to favour Achillea leaves for nest lining, as it is thought the essential oils in the foliage inhibits parasites in the nest.
An extract from the essential oils is a traditional control for mosquito larvae.
– Easy Care: Easy care and low maintenance.
The clump is quickly tidied by shearing spent flower stems.
You can increase flower production further by dividing and sharing your clump every few years. But no other work is required.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Rabbits and deer find Achillea distasteful because the essential oils create a bitter taste in the foliage.
Achillea is native to many different areas in Europe and Asia, from the heat of Turkey to the cold of Siberia; from the humidity of India to the extremes of climate in North America.
Hence the exceptional hardiness of Achilleas, and their ability to adapt to a wide range of difficult conditions.
So it is often found thriving on poor and neglected land.
Achillea clypeolata is a non-invasive garden cultivar, but equally as hardy as it’s wild (but invasive) cousins.
Traditional healing herb
Achillea has gathered a battalion of common names over the centuries.
Unsurprisingly, many names relate to its use as an antiseptic for treating wounds and staunching blood flow.
Thus common names include soldier’s woundwort, nosebleed plant, bloodwort, carpenter’s weed, knight’s milefoil, sanguinary, stanchweed, thousand seal, and scarily, death flower.
While other common names relate to its attractive foliage, scent, essential oils, and fern-like texture.
Old man’s pepper, bad man’s plaything, old man’s mustard, devil’s nettle, little feather, thousand-leaf, seven-year’s love, and yarrow, but that is just a few common names, there are even more.
The genus name Achillea celebrates an ancient Greek warrior, Achilles.
He also used this plant to heal war wounds.
Important for beer
In medieval times Achillea was used as a flavouring in beer brewing, and as a preservative for beer.
Both very important roles considering water was a health hazard then.
Given their daily beer intake as a replacement for water, medieval man, and woman, must have spent a lot of time pickled,
And a pioneer plant in Australia
Early sailing ships brought Achillea with the pioneering European settlers to Australia. Pioneering farmers considered it an important ingredient in their family medicine chest, as well as fodder and tonic for their sheep.