SNEEZEWORT

BATCHELORS' BUTTONS

Achillea ptarmica

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]  

Flowers:
month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept

Pappus: pappusZpossible (tiny)
pappus8sep pappus8sept pappus8oct

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ8
(5 - 12)
type
typeZumbel
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8pungent
pungent

23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
Similar to Yarrow to which it is related, but not as common.


20th Aug 2014, waste ground, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


29th Aug 2007, Slaidburn. Photo: © RWD
Shorter than Yarrow, grows up to 60cm. Branched.


23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
Leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, narrow with many very fine teeth as found on a junior hacksaw. Leaves quite different to those of Yarrow which are very finely sub-divided and feather-like.


23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
More mature specimens tend to have slightly swept-back ray florets.


23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Yarrow, which has but 5 petals, Sneezewort has three more, eight.


23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
The petals are pure white, barrel-shaped, never pink or red as sometimes occurs with Yarrow, and like Yarrow divided by folds into three which are more pronounced in Sneezewort. Disc florets when not opened, as on this specimen, have a slightly greenish hue.


20th Aug 2014, waste ground, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The opened disc florets.


23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD


23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
A young shoot. Note the junior-hacksaw type leaf teeth.


A DOUBLE-FLOWERED FORM

 Mutations Menu
29th Aug 2007, Slaidburn. Photo: © RWD
A double-flowered form, a garden escape.


17th July 2014, Owd Betts, Ashworth resr, Rochdale. Photo: © RWD
The centre of the outer disc florets contains a greenish-yellow style tipped with an orange-yellow bulbous stigma.


29th Aug 2007, Slaidburn. Photo: © RWD
The central area of disc-florets is larger than that of the native variety.


23rd Aug 2008, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
Opened disc-florets (centre of each flower) have a somewhat untidy appearance, with off-white, brown, yellow and orange bits sporadically showing.


Some similarities to : Yarrow but although the petals are crimped as they are in Yarrow, there are three more of them, and the leaves are totally different.

The flowers have a passing resemblance to those of Feverfew, but the outer petals are even fewer in number than they are in Feverfew, numbering nominally eight but can be anything from 5 to 12. Also, un-like the outer petals of Feverfew, those of Sneezewort droop downwards like a skirt. The central florets in Sneezewort are a cream colour, whereas they are a brilliant yellow in Feverfew.

Distinguishing Feature : The crimped appearance of the petals surrounding a largish creamy coloured button with many dimples on the surface. Also, many of the flowers have petals that are reflexed downwards away from the top in a conical fashion.

Not to be confused with: Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), which has larger yellow to purplish-brown petals and although it belongs to the same Family Asteraceae, is of species Helenium.

The strongly pungent smell is said to induce sneezing, indeed the dried and powdered leaves have been used as a sneezing powder. An essential oil can be extracted which is used medicinally (although your author has yet been unable to track down the chemical ingredients of this oil). Although its bitter tasting leaves have been used in salads, the plant is poisonous to some farm animals like horses and cows, with symptoms slow to develop, which include fever, tachycardia, difficulty breathing, weight loss, drooling, spasms, and convulsions.


  Achillea ptarmica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
family8daisy family8dandelion  family8Asteracaea

 BSBI maps
genus8Achillea
Achillea
(Yarrows)

SNEEZEWORT

BATCHELORS' BUTTONS

Achillea ptarmica

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]  

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