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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - May 16, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Visual difference between Yarrow and Queen Anne's lace in Austin, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What is different, visually, between yarrow and Queen Anne's lace?

ANSWER:

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow) and Queen Anne's Lace bear a great resemblance, but botanically they are quite different. They are in different families and their flowering structures are different.

Yarrow is in the Aster family (Asteraceae) and bears variously colored flowers in clusters at the tips of its shoots. Queen Anne's Lace is in the Carrot family (Apiaceae) and bears its white flowers in heads termed umbels at the tips of shoots

Another difference that is easy to see is in the leaves. By comparing the illustrations for Yarrow and Queen Anne’s Lace, you will see that they both have compound leaves, but the attachment of the leaves is different   (scroll down to "leaf arrangement"). Leaves of Queen Anne’s Lace have an opposite arrangement while the leaves of  Yarrow have an alternate arrangement. The leaves of Yarrow are also more finely divided. In fact, the species name millefolium literally means “ a thousand leaves”. Its kind of like a millipede, but different.

 



 

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