This geocache is part of the Gold Country GeoTour – The Prequel: Be A Guest. This GeoTour focuses on a step back in time to learn about before the Gold Rush ensued: languages of the region’s culturally diverse families, handed down traditions such as recipes, flora and fauna, historic sites of significance, and points of interest. These stories will help preserve the oral languages and traditions of the region as well as assist in educating visitors and locals alike to the cultural diversity and environmental sensitivity of the region.
Common Yarrow: Achillea millefolium
Secwepemc: Getsqets’uye7éllp (yarrow)
Tsilhqot’in: dlunichi ‘mouse tail’; OR sachí (? ‘beaver’s tail’) (salmon spreaders)
Stl’atl’imx (Fraser River): q’əәts’yuʔáʔłəәp; OR kw ’əәtł’us-úpyaʔ (‘chipmunk's-little-tail’)
Nlaka’pamux: qw oqw m’xn-ún’peʔ (‘little chipmunk-tail’)
Nsyilxcen: qw ’ets’q w ’ets’wiy’aʔhúps (yarrow)
Liľwat7úl: kawáltskza7, kawáltsekza7 (yarrow)
English Translation: Chipmunks’ Tail - Yarrow
Color: White, Pink
Typical Bloom (varies by elevation): Flowering late Apr–early Jul (south), mid Jul–mid Sep (north)
Yarrow is widespread and common in the Southern Interior of British Columbia growing from low to high elevations in a range of moist to dry environments, especially in forests and open sites with plenty of sun exposure. Yarrow can be found throughout British Columbia and over much of North America. It also occurs across northern and central Europe and Asia. It is a common plant growing in many places all over the world, growing in many climates and habitats.
Yarrow can have one or more stems growing up to 75 cm tall. The feathery, fern-like leaves sprout out alternately along the stems. Its’ tiny white flowers are grouped into small clusters of heads that are flat-topped, with each small flower head consisting of 3 to 8 tiny ray flowers. Disc florets make up the central part of each, which is surrounded by 5 petal-shaped ray florets.
Indigenous Cultural Notes: Yarrow has been used to stop blood flow throughout the ages. Indigenous people used this white flowering plant for medicinal purposes. An infusion of warm water and roots would be consumed for headache, stomach-ache, colds, and diarrhoea. Bathing in an infusion made from the whole plant helped ease the pain and stiffness from rheumatism and arthritis and was also an effective wash for burns and rashes. Leaves and stems were mixed with white clematis and branches from dense clusters of shoots found on Douglas fir trees, called the “witch’s broom,” to make a shampoo. The smoke created from placing the feather-like leaves and stems on hot coals kept mosquitoes at bay. Yarrow was also used for smudging and was known as women’s medicine.
Interesting facts: Common starlings and other bird species use the dried leaves of yarrow to build their nests and is a deer resistant garden perennial. Yarrow gets its name from the Greek hero Achilles, who is said to have used the plant, to treat his wounds.
Medicinal plant information is for historical information only. Gold Country Communities Society is not encouraging harvesting of native plants for food and/or medicine.
Researched and written by Lana Rae Brooks