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Achillea ptarmica

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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, Cottonweed, 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, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, 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:
90 centimetres tall
Fens, fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, marshes, meadows, mountains, riversides, roadsides, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

White, many petals
Loose clusters of white flowers with pale green disc florets. Occasionally double-flowered forms are seen with garden escapes. The 7 to 15 petals on each flower are notched. The disc floret is yellow-brown in colour.
The fruit of Sneezewort, known as an achene, is a small, dry, one-seeded structure. It is typically produced after the flowering stage and contributes to the plant's reproductive cycle. The achene is often dispersed to new locations, aiding in the plant's natural propagation.
Sneezewort's leaves are typically lanceolate or ovate in shape, and they exhibit an alternate arrangement along the stems. The foliage may have a pinnate or bipinnate pattern, with finely toothed or lobed margins. Some species of Sneezewort have aromatic leaves when crushed, emitting a pleasant fragrance. The leaves play a role in the plant's overall aesthetic appeal and may vary slightly among different species within the Achillea genus.
The flower is named because apparently it emits a peculiar smell which causes you to sneeze if inserted up your nose. The second part of the flower name 'wort' is an archaic name for a plant used as a herb or for food.
Other Names:
Bastard Pellitory, European Pellitory, Fair-maid-of-France, Goose Tongue, Meadow Yarrow, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort Yarrow, White Tansy, Wild Pellitory, Yarrow.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Achillea ptarmica, commonly known as sneezeweed or the meadow yarrow, is a species of perennial plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and it is hardy in USDA zones 4-8. It typically grows to 1-2 ft. tall, with a spread of 1-2 ft. The plant has fern-like, feathery, gray-green leaves that are deeply lobed and grow in clumps. The flowers are small, yellow, and produced in large, flat-topped clusters, blooming in late spring to early summer. The plant is tolerant to drought and it prefers full sun and well-drained soils. It's often used in meadows, cottage gardens, and naturalized areas, it's also good for cut flowers and dried flowers. The plant's common name "sneezeweed" is a reference to the dried leaves and flowers of the plant that have been used for centuries as a snuff that was inhaled to induce sneezing in order to relieve nasal congestion.


Sneezewort, also known by its scientific name Achillea ptarmica, is a beautiful and unique plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and is also commonly known as white yarrow or sneezeweed.

Sneezewort is a perennial herb that typically grows to be about 2-3 feet tall. It has an upright growth habit and features a cluster of small, white flowers that bloom in mid to late summer. The flowers themselves are quite small, only about 1/4 inch in diameter, but they are arranged in dense, flat-topped clusters that can reach up to 6 inches across.

The leaves of sneezewort are also quite interesting. They are long and narrow, with deeply cut, toothed edges. They are arranged in a spiral pattern along the stem and have a feathery, fern-like appearance. The entire plant has a delicate, airy quality that makes it a popular choice for ornamental gardens.

But sneezewort is more than just a pretty face. It has a long history of medicinal use dating back to the ancient Greeks, who used it to treat a variety of ailments. In fact, the plant's scientific name, Achillea, is a reference to the Greek hero Achilles, who is said to have used it to heal his soldiers' wounds during the Trojan War.

Sneezewort has a number of medicinal properties that make it useful for treating a range of health conditions. It is a natural astringent, which means that it has a drying effect on tissues and can be used to reduce bleeding and inflammation. It is also an antiseptic, which means that it can help to prevent infections.

Some of the specific health conditions that sneezewort can be used to treat include:

  • Respiratory problems: Sneezewort has a long history of use as a remedy for respiratory problems such as coughs, colds, and bronchitis. It can help to reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract and loosen mucus, making it easier to breathe.

  • Digestive problems: Sneezewort can be used to treat a variety of digestive problems, including diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. It can help to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and promote healthy digestion.

  • Skin problems: Sneezewort can be used to treat a variety of skin problems, including rashes, eczema, and acne. It has a drying effect on the skin, which can help to reduce inflammation and prevent infections.

In addition to its medicinal properties, sneezewort is also used in a number of culinary and cosmetic applications. The leaves and flowers can be used to make a tea that has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor. It can also be used to make a natural dye that produces a range of yellow and green colors.

Overall, sneezewort is a versatile and valuable plant that has a lot to offer. Whether you're looking for a beautiful addition to your garden or a natural remedy for a health condition, sneezewort is definitely worth considering.

One interesting fact about sneezewort is its use as a traditional remedy for allergies. Despite its name, sneezewort does not actually cause sneezing, but rather it was used historically to relieve hay fever symptoms, which often include sneezing. The plant was made into a tea or tincture and consumed to help reduce the symptoms of allergies.

Sneezewort also has a number of cultural and symbolic meanings. In traditional medicine, it was associated with the planet Venus and was used in love potions and spells. In Celtic mythology, sneezewort was associated with the goddess Eostre and was thought to have powerful healing properties.

In addition to its medicinal and cultural uses, sneezewort has also been used as a natural insect repellent. The plant contains a compound called linalool, which has been shown to repel a range of insects, including mosquitoes and flies. It can be crushed and rubbed onto the skin or burned as a natural incense to keep insects at bay.

Sneezewort is a fascinating and useful plant with a long history of medicinal, culinary, and cultural uses. Its delicate beauty and versatility make it a valuable addition to any garden or natural medicine cabinet. If you're looking for a plant with a rich history and a range of potential uses, sneezewort is definitely worth exploring further.

Sneezewort is also an important plant for wildlife. It provides nectar and pollen for a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies. It is also a host plant for the caterpillars of several butterfly species, including the painted lady and the small white.

In addition, sneezewort has a number of uses in traditional herbal medicine. It has been used to treat fevers, headaches, and menstrual cramps, and is sometimes used as a diuretic to help flush excess fluids from the body. It has also been used topically to treat wounds and skin infections.

Sneezewort can be propagated through seed or division, and it prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of conditions, including drought and poor soil quality.

As with any medicinal plant, it's important to use caution and consult with a healthcare professional before using sneezewort for medicinal purposes. While it has a long history of use in traditional medicine, more research is needed to fully understand its potential health benefits and side effects.

Sneezewort is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and a range of potential uses. Whether you're interested in its medicinal properties, its cultural significance, or its value for wildlife, there are many reasons to explore this unique and beautiful plant.

Sneezewort is also a popular addition to gardens and landscapes for its ornamental value. Its delicate, white flowers bloom from June to September and are a striking addition to any garden. Sneezewort is often used as a border plant, in rock gardens, or in meadows and wildflower gardens.

The plant's leaves are also interesting, as they are finely divided and have a fern-like appearance. The leaves are a soft green color and have a slightly hairy texture, adding to the plant's unique aesthetic.

Sneezewort is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care once established. It can be cut back after flowering to encourage a second bloom later in the season, and it benefits from regular deadheading to promote continued blooming.

Sneezewort is a valuable plant with a range of uses and benefits. Its medicinal properties, cultural significance, value to wildlife, and ornamental value make it a plant worth considering for any garden or natural medicine cabinet. Whether you're a seasoned gardener, an herbal enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique and interesting addition to your landscape, sneezewort is definitely worth exploring further.

Sneezewort, also known as Achillea ptarmica, has a rich history in mythology and folklore. In many cultures, sneezewort was associated with healing and protection, and was thought to have powerful magical properties.

In Celtic mythology, sneezewort was associated with the goddess Eostre, who was celebrated during the spring equinox. It was believed that sneezewort could ward off evil spirits and protect against disease. It was also used in love potions and spells, as it was believed to have powerful aphrodisiac properties.

In medieval Europe, sneezewort was associated with the legendary hero Achilles, from whom the plant's Latin name is derived. According to legend, Achilles used the plant to treat his wounded soldiers during the Trojan War. It was believed to have the power to stop bleeding and heal wounds, and was often used in battlefield medicine.

Sneezewort was also used in traditional medicine in Europe and Asia. In medieval Europe, it was used to treat a variety of ailments, including fevers, headaches, and menstrual cramps. It was also used as a diuretic to help flush excess fluids from the body. In Asia, it was used to treat respiratory infections and other respiratory disorders.

In addition to its medicinal and cultural significance, sneezewort has also been used in folklore as a natural insect repellent. It was often burned as an incense to keep insects at bay, and was also rubbed onto the skin to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects.

In conclusion, sneezewort has played an important role in mythology, folklore, and traditional medicine throughout history. Its association with healing, protection, and magical powers has made it a valuable plant in many cultures, and its unique properties continue to be explored and appreciated today.

30 Sneezewort Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Sneezewort is a common name for plants belonging to the genus Achillea, with various species like Achillea ptarmica.

  2. Habitat: Sneezewort is typically found in meadows, grasslands, and damp areas, thriving in well-drained soils.

  3. Appearance: The plant is characterized by clusters of small, white, or pink flowers with a distinct central disc.

  4. Blooming Season: Sneezewort blooms during the summer months, usually from June to September, depending on the species and location.

  5. Perennial Nature: Many Sneezewort species are perennials, returning year after year.

  6. Height: Sneezewort plants vary in height, with some species growing as tall as three feet.

  7. Aromatic Foliage: Some species of Sneezewort have aromatic foliage when crushed, emitting a pleasant fragrance.

  8. Medicinal Uses: Traditionally, Sneezewort has been used in herbal medicine for various purposes, including treating wounds and respiratory issues.

  9. Wildlife Attraction: The flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, contributing to the local ecosystem.

  10. Adaptability: Sneezewort is adaptable to a range of soil types and can tolerate different pH levels.

  11. Culinary Use: In some cultures, Sneezewort leaves have been used in salads or as a seasoning due to their mild flavor.

  12. Historical Significance: The genus name Achillea is derived from the Greek hero Achilles, who, according to legend, used the plant to heal wounds during the Trojan War.

  13. Folklore: Sneezewort has folklore associations with healing and protection, believed to ward off evil spirits.

  14. Gardening: Sneezewort is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes.

  15. Invasive Potential: Some species of Sneezewort can become invasive in certain environments, spreading rapidly.

  16. Drought Tolerance: Sneezewort is known for its resilience and can withstand periods of drought.

  17. Variety of Species: The Achillea genus includes numerous species, each with its unique characteristics.

  18. Propagation: Sneezewort can be propagated through seeds or by dividing mature plants.

  19. Cultural Significance: Sneezewort has cultural significance in different regions, often associated with folklore and traditional customs.

  20. Achilleine Compound: Sneezewort contains compounds like achilleine, which may have antimicrobial properties.

  21. Leaf Arrangement: The leaves of Sneezewort are often arranged alternately along the stems.

  22. Naturalized Regions: Some Sneezewort species have naturalized in regions outside their native range.

  23. Rhizomatous Growth: Sneezewort often spreads through rhizomes, forming colonies of plants.

  24. Achene Fruits: The flowers produce small, dry, one-seeded fruits known as achenes.

  25. Traditional Healing: Sneezewort has been historically used in various cultures for its astringent and wound-healing properties.

  26. Dye Source: Sneezewort has been used as a source of natural dye for textiles.

  27. Cultural Symbolism: In some cultures, Sneezewort symbolizes inspiration, courage, and healing.

  28. Land Reclamation: Sneezewort is sometimes used in land reclamation projects due to its ability to stabilize soil.

  29. Allergenic Potential: Individuals with allergies may experience hay fever-like symptoms if exposed to Sneezewort pollen.

  30. Global Distribution: Sneezewort is found in various parts of the world, from Europe and Asia to North America.


Sneezewort filmed in Adlington, Lancashire along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on the 5th July 2023 and 7th July 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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