Achillea ptarmica | ‘Sneezeweed’, ‘Sneezewort’ | Seeds
Native to many parts of Europe, Achillea ptarmica is an herbaceous flowering perennial of the family Asteraceae, which is commonly known by the names ‘Sneezewort’ and ‘Sneezewort Yarrow’. It’s also been called ‘Bastard Pellitory’, ‘Brideflower’, ‘European Pellitory’, ‘Fair-maid-of-France’, ‘Goose Tongue’, ‘Sneezeweed’, ‘White Tansy’ and ‘Wild Pellitory’.
Closely related to the ‘Common Yarrow’, Achillea millefolium, ptarmica is an attractive and hardy species which is quite drought-tolerant. Growing in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8, this slightly hairy, greyish-coloured plant can reach just under a metre in height, forming finely-toothed, dark green leaves and loose clusters of white blooms (which appear from early summer to early autumn and are a favourite of insects such as hoverflies). It usually occurs in damp or wet habitats, such as the banks of rivers and streams, rush-pastures, water meadows, wet woodlands and other wetlands.
Ptarmica‘s leaves can be used to repel insects, as well as be eaten (whether raw or cooked). It’s also sometimes used as an ingredient by traditional herbalists. Interestingly (considering it’s palatable to humans), the plant is also toxic to cattle, horses and sheep, causing the slow onset of symptoms including convulsions, drooling, fever, rapid pulse, respiratory problems and weight-loss.
Achillea ptarmica is a very easy species to grow from seed. Sow in the spring in containers or the ground, in neutral to mildly acidic soil – keeping it well-drained yet moist (this ptarmica has average water requirements). Position in full sun and – to allow them ample room to reach maturity – space young plants approximately fifty centimetres apart. Once your plants are well-established, they can be further propagated day rootball division.
This plant is an absolute must for any serious herbalist’s ornamental garden, producing many pleasingly delicate blooms each year!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced in 2018