Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
Other names: Milfoil, Thousand-leaf, Arrow-root, Bloodwort, Greenarrow, Soldier's Woundwort, Nosebleed Weed, Devil's Nettle
Perennial, spreading by seed and shallow, branched underground stems. Difficult to control in lawns,
producing large drought-resistant patches, usually indicating poor lawn condition. Frequent close cutting
will encourage it as the grass cannot compete.
Feathery foliage is fragrant when crushed and has a sharp peppery flavour if added to salads. If rolled
into a ball and crushed to release the oils, a bunch of leaves can be used as an insect repellant; although cultivated varieties are used as companion plants to attract hover flies and other predatory insects which eat aphids.
It is said to have been used by Achilles to stem the bleeding when he was wounded - hence the origin of the Generic name and some of the common names.
Its astringent properties make it useful for drying bodily fluids , so it will relieve catarrh and diarrhoea as well as stemming bleeding. An infusion taken two
to three times daily is a digestive tonic or can be used externally to wash wounds as it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is contraindicated in pregnancy.
Other common names such as Devil's Nettle, Devil's Plaything, Bad Man's Plaything, arose in the past as
it was used for divination in spells to summon a vision of a future spouse.
It flowers from June to October - small white to pale pink, in flat-topped clusters.
Height - up to 60 cm.
Dig out, removing creeping stems. Nitrogen-rich fertilizer and liming in the spring will discourage
it. Allow the grass to grow to out-compete it. In pasture, close grazing by sheep in spring and early
summer can help to control it, as they like the young growth which is said to prevent diarrhoea in the
sheep as well.
Weedkillers to use:-
Glyphosate, systemic action
killing the whole plant.
Dicamba, Mecoprop, with
selective action for use in lawn. Use a product with
two or three in combination, more than one
application will be needed.