Open the Advanced Search


Achillea maritima

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Sand dunes, seaside.

Yellow, no petals
The bright yellow flowers appear in small clusters. The flowerheads are compact, silvery-white, tiny and button-like. The bracts are silvery-grey. Flowers measure between 6 and 9mm across.
An oblong, hairless achene.
A creeping perennial covered all over in a white down. Short, tightly-packed silvery-white leaves. In the British Isles, Cottonweed is found only in County Wexford. Very rare.
Other Names:
Maritime Yarrow, Sea Yarrow.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Achillea maritima, also known as sea yarrow or maritime yarrow, is a species of flowering plant in the aster family (Asteraceae). It is native to the coastal regions of Europe, including the British Isles, and it grows in sandy or gravelly habitats near the sea. The plant is a perennial herb with thin, feathery leaves and clusters of small, white or pale pink flowers that bloom in the summer. Achillea maritima is an important food source for many species of wildlife, and it is also used medicinally and as a natural dye.


Cottonweed, also known as sea cotton or Achillea maritima, is a beautiful and resilient plant that grows along the coastal regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. This hardy plant is well adapted to survive in the harsh and unpredictable conditions of the coastline and has been widely used for a variety of medicinal and cosmetic purposes for centuries.

One of the most notable features of Cottonweed is its delicate, cotton-like appearance. The plant produces clusters of small, white flowers that are surrounded by tufts of cotton-like fibers. These fibers help to protect the plant from the wind and salt spray and make it an attractive addition to any coastal garden.

Cottonweed is also well known for its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, respiratory infections, and digestive problems. The active compounds in the plant are believed to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties, making it an effective treatment for a range of conditions.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Cottonweed is also commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products. The plant's fibers and essential oils are used to create a range of products, including soaps, shampoos, and creams, that are designed to soothe and moisturize the skin. The plant's essential oils are also believed to have a calming effect, making it a popular ingredient in aromatherapy products.

Despite its many benefits, Cottonweed is not without its challenges. The plant is considered invasive in some areas, and its ability to spread quickly and outcompete native species can lead to ecological imbalances. Additionally, the plant's small, white flowers are often mistaken for those of other, more toxic plants, which can lead to accidental poisonings.

Despite these challenges, Cottonweed remains a fascinating and valuable plant that has a rich history of use in medicine, cosmetics, and horticulture. Whether you are a gardener, herbalist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of coastal landscapes, Cottonweed is a plant that is well worth your attention.

Cottonweed is a beautiful, resilient, and versatile plant that is well adapted to the harsh conditions of the coastline. With its delicate, cotton-like appearance, medicinal properties, and widespread use in cosmetics, this plant is an important part of the natural heritage of many countries and a valuable resource for those who seek to make use of its many benefits.

Cultivating Cottonweed is relatively easy, making it a great choice for both experienced and novice gardeners. The plant thrives in well-drained soils and can tolerate a range of soil conditions, from sand to clay. It is also highly salt-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for coastal gardens.

Cottonweed is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care once established. It is drought-tolerant and can withstand harsh weather conditions, including wind and salt spray. The plant also requires very little pruning and can be left to grow naturally, creating a beautiful and naturalistic landscape.

When planting Cottonweed, it is important to consider its eventual size and growth habit. The plant can grow up to 2 feet tall and spread out to a width of 2-3 feet, so it is important to provide enough space for it to grow and spread. It is also important to keep the plant well-watered, especially during its first growing season, to ensure that it becomes established.

Cottonweed is also a great choice for wildlife gardens, as it provides a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinators. The plant's delicate flowers and cotton-like fibers make it an attractive addition to any garden and provide a unique and interesting texture to the landscape.

Cottonweed is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well adapted to the harsh conditions of the coastline. With its delicate appearance, medicinal properties, and ease of cultivation, this plant is a great choice for coastal gardens, wildlife gardens, and anyone who seeks to create a beautiful and naturalistic landscape. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a beginner, Cottonweed is a plant that is well worth considering.

In addition to its use in gardens and for medicinal purposes, Cottonweed has also been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. In many cultures, the plant is believed to have magical properties and is used in rituals and ceremonies to promote health and well-being.

For example, in some Native American cultures, Cottonweed is used in smudging ceremonies to purify and protect homes and sacred spaces. The plant's fibers and essential oils are believed to have a calming effect and to help clear negative energy, making it an important part of many traditional spiritual practices.

Cottonweed is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a range of conditions, including respiratory infections, digestive problems, and skin conditions. The plant is believed to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective treatment for a variety of conditions.

In addition to its traditional uses, Cottonweed is also gaining recognition for its potential as a sustainable and eco-friendly resource. The plant's fibers can be used to make a range of products, including textiles, paper, and insulation, and its essential oils are used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products.

Cottonweed is also being studied for its potential as a biofuel crop. The plant's high salt tolerance and ability to grow in harsh coastal environments make it an ideal candidate for biofuel production in regions where other crops are unable to grow.

In conclusion, Cottonweed is a plant with a rich history of use in traditional folk medicine, spiritual practices, and as a sustainable and eco-friendly resource. With its delicate appearance, medicinal properties, and ease of cultivation, this plant is a valuable resource for those seeking to make use of its many benefits. Whether you are interested in gardening, traditional medicine, or sustainable living, Cottonweed is a plant that is well worth exploring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map