Flora Pittsburghensis.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

ColtsfootPhotographed April 8.

Coltsfoot is one of our earlier spring flowers. The cheery and shaggy yellow flower heads top a short stalk that pops straight out of the ground; there are no leaves until later on. The plant’s favorite habitat seems to be a damp hillside at the edge of the woods, often beside a street or highway. Coltsfoot was, as its generic name suggests, a popular cough remedy; but it has been known to cause serious liver damage, so it’s not as popular as it used to be.

Coltsfoot Photographed April 5.

Group of three

Gray describes the genus and the species:

TUSSILÀGO [Tourn.] L. COLTSFOOT. Head many-flowered; ray-flowers in several rows, narrowly ligulate, pistillate, fertile; disk-flowers with undivided style, sterile. Involucre nearly simple. Receptacle flat. Achenes slender-cylindric or prismatic; pappus copious, soft, and capillary. — Low perennial, with horizontal creeping rootstocks, sending up scaly scapes in early spring, bearing a single head, and producing rounded heart-shaped angled or toothed leaves later in the season, woolly when young. Flowers yellow. (Name from tussis, a cough, for which the plant is a reputed remedy.)

T. farfara L. — Wet places and along brooks, e. Que. to Pa., O., and Minn. (Nat. from Eu.)

Tussilago farfaraPhotographed April 18.
Tussilago farfara

Family Compositae or Asteraceae (Composite Family) | Index of Families