December Plant of the Month: Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a common perennial herb known for its fragrant leaves and healing properties. This widespread plant is found throughout the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Hemisphere. Yarrow thrives at a variety of elevations, in both wet and dry climates. In Southern Oregon, you might see yarrow in open grasslands, forests, or maybe even in the corner of your lawn. 

You might be familiar with yarrow’s summer appearance: a wide cluster of flowers rising from a base of green, feather-like leaves. In winter, yarrow looks quite different. The stalk and flowers dry out, turning a dark brown color. Small pockets of seeds are left where the flowers used to be. Often you’ll still see the green, feathery leaves along the base of the plant, ready to grow again come spring. 

Yarrow has been used medicinally for millenia. Leaves were commonly crushed and used as an astringent for wounds (to stop bleeding). Dried yarrow was made into a tea and used to cure digestive, respiratory ailments. The plant is also well loved by pollinating insects and a variety of wildlife!

November Native Plant of the Month: Licorice Fern

RNPP has a Native Plant of the Month column in the Rogue Basin Partnership newsletter! You can find the full RBP November newsletter here, and our Native Plant of the Month Column copied below.

As the reds and yellows of fall begin to fade, my eyes are drawn from the canopy to the forest floor, where spots of green create a vibrant contrast with the fallen leaves. Licorice fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) is a common fern found in mixed conifer and deciduous woodlands, thriving in moist, shaded to partly-shaded environments. It is native from Southern Alaska to California, with isolated populations existing in Idaho and Arizona.

Licorice fern often grows on the mossy trunks and branches of deciduous trees, but can also be found on mossy rocks, logs, or the forest floor. Fronds have simple pinnae with pointed tips, and often swoop downward from their perch on tree trunks and branches. Licorice fern is named for its rhizomes, which taste of licorice. These rhizomes were used medicinally by Native Americans as a remedy for coughs, colds, and sore throats.