Tussilago farfara L.
Coltsfoot, Ass’s Foot, Bull’s Foot, Butterbur, Coughwort, Farfara, Foal’s Foot, Foalswort, Horse Foot, Winter Heliotrope
Coltsfoot is native to some regions of Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North and South America for its medical properties, and has become naturalized there, an invasive plant in many areas. “Coltsfoot” and many other of the common names are for the shape of the leaves at the base of the plant.
Identification: Leaves at the base of the plant are heart-shaped, and up to 6" (15 cm) wide. Stems are stiff, lined with small reddish-brown scales, about 3-18" (7.6-45 cm) high. There is a single yellow flower on each stem, about ¾" (1.9 cm) across, composed of many tiny petals, similar to a dandelion. (In ultraviolet light, the outer petals appear white and the inner region red.) The flowers appear in early spring.
Edibility: Flower buds and young flowers are said to add an anise-like (licorice-like) flavor to salads. Young leaves are also edible, provided that they are washed after boiling to remove a bitter taste.. The dried leaves can be used to make a tea, or boiled with sugar to produce cough drops.
Medical: Coltsfoot has been pressed into service for a wide range of ailments. The most consistent use is the treatment of coughs and respiratory problems, often with a candy made from the leaves.
Tussilago farfara on North Carolina Wildflowers, Shrubs, & Trees, by Jeff Pippen
Tussilago farfara on Ontario Wildflowers
Tussilago farfara on Invasive.org, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health
Tussilago farfara on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Tussilago farfara on Wikipedia
Tussilago farfara on CalPhotos
Tussilago farfara on the Ecology of Commanster
Tussilago farfara at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
Tussilago farfara on www.tussilago-farfara.com
Tussilago farfara on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database
Tussilago farfara at 2bnTheWild.com
2See Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 84
Tussilago farfara description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 24 May 2014.