Yarrow is a beautiful plant loved by many for its seamlessly endless uses. Unfortunately, not many people know how they can use yarrow and how beneficial it can be to their health. These people tend to think of yarrow as a weed and pull it from their garden when they see it, but this is the last thing you should do.
Yarrow has many purposes in the culinary world, as well as in the medicinal world. The feathery leaves of yarrow are mainly used in salads, and many other parts of the plant are used as medicine to help fight infections, heal wounds, break fevers, ease menstruation pain, and aid in digestion.
Yarrow is a great plant to have and cultivate in your garden, and it’s a common plant, so it’s easy to find if you want to plant it in your garden. There are 12 species of yarrow that grow all around the United States, and most of them can be used in the same way.
Yarrow is an easy plant to grow and care for, as it’s hardy and can grow perfectly in the wild. This plant grows fine in full sun and generally sprouts in the middle of fields, lawns, and meadows. Yarrow has fluffy, feathery leaves that resemble a fern but are smaller and narrower.
From June to September, yarrow will bloom, and these flowers grow in flat clusters located at the top of each stem. These flowers are small and can be white, orange, yellow, or pink.
If the flowers are yellow, pink, or orange, you should not use the plant for medical purposes, but any white or pale flower can be used this way.
Yarrow is a useful plant to have around if you know how to use it, but there are a few plants that look similar, if not identical, to yarrow, so identifying the plant correctly before you try to use it is extremely important.
Yarrow is a plant that you want to grow in your garden, as it has many useful purposes that can benefit you, but this plant is also quite beautiful, especially when it blooms with its tiny flowers. Yarrow is considered a common weed and can sprout in your garden without you planting it.
This is a nice surprise for many people, but if you don’t get yarrow naturally in your garden like this, then you can find yarrow seeds at certain plant nurseries, but these seeds can be challenging to find.
Alternatively, you can ask a friend with a yarrow plant in their garden to harvest some seeds for you in the next blooming season so you can grow your own.
When you find a yarrow plant in your garden, you need to ensure you identify it correctly, as there are several plants that look like yarrow, some of which can be dangerous and should not be used in any way by humans.
1. Queen Anne’s Lace
The plant that gets misidentified as yarrow the most is Queen Anne’s Lace. This plant is almost identical to yarrow and can confuse even the most well-versed plant enthusiast if they aren’t paying attention.
Queen Anne’s Lace is also a wildflower that can sprout up across the country, but it’s mainly found in meadows, fields, and roadsides, which can further add to the misidentification of the plant. This plant blooms roughly the same time as yarrow, from June to August.
The flowers of Queen Anne’s Lace are also small, white flowers that bloom in a flat cluster at the end of each stem. Queen Anne’s Lace can be used in some herbal remedies, but not to the extent as yarrow, and this plant should never be used if you are pregnant.
If you identify Queen Anne’s Lace growing in your garden, you can leave it there and research some of the uses for this plant. Queen Anne’s Lace is not a plant you want to pull.
2. Poison Hemlock
Another plant that is often misidentified as yarrow is Poison Hemlock. This is a very dangerous plant that should never be used for anything that yarrow can be used for. Poison Hemlock is extremely toxic and can harm you and your pets if ingested.
This is the plant you need to ensure you don’t misidentify as yarrow, as it will lead to a hospital visit with you in extremely critical condition. This plant can kill you if you aren’t careful. Poison Hemlock looks very similar to yarrow and can be found in the same growing conditions as yarrow.
This plant has fern-like, feathered leaves and blooms small white flowers in flat clusters on the end of each stem. When mature, Poison Hemlock will grow slightly larger than yarrow, but you must ensure you identify this plant correctly before using it in any way. If you aren’t sure, don’t use it.
3. Sweet Fennel
Sweet Fennel is a plant that can be confused for yarrow quite easily. This confusion will only happen when the plants are not in bloom, as they do have flowers that look different, but the rest of the plant looks similar to each other.
Sweet Fennel also has fern-like, feathered leaves with the same spacing as yarrow. Sweet Fennel is not dangerous and is commonly used in the culinary world to help flavor many dishes.
You cannot use Sweet Fennel for the medicinal purposes you can use yarrow for, so it’s still important to identify this plant correctly should this be why you want the yarrow plant in your garden.
Related: 8 Plants That Look Like Fennel
4. Wild Carrot
Wild carrot or Daucus carota is a common but wild form of carrot plants that are cultivated today for human consumption. Wild carrot plants can be misidentified as yarrow as they share the same leaf structure.
Yarrow is a cousin of carrot plants, which is why they look so similar. However, the flowers of these two plants are very different, so they can only be misidentified when not in bloom.
Wild carrots are safe to eat and can be utilized in the same way as store-bought carrots, but you cannot use them for the medicinal purposes that yarrow is used for. If you find wild carrots growing in your garden, you can keep them and cultivate them to add to your vegetable patch.
Related: 8 Plants That Look Like Carrots
Chamomile is a lovely plant that is often used in tea to help calm the nerves and help people fall asleep, but this plant can be confused for yarrow if you don’t look at the plant carefully. Chamomile has the same leaf structure and spacing as yarrow.
Related: 9 Plants That Look Like Chamomile
You will only misidentify these plants when they are not in bloom, as they have different flowers that make identifying them much easier. Chamomile can grow wild in the same locations as yarrow, as there is a wild variant of chamomile called Pineapple weed, and they have the same care requirements.
If you find chamomile growing in your garden, you can still use it to make tea that will help calm you down, but do not use it as you would use yarrow, as this can affect your health negatively. Chamomile is a lovely plant to have in your garden, and you should plant it either way.