In April, the flower stalks emerge and resemble dandilions, only with scaly stems and no leaves.

April Coltsfoot stalks and flowers
Mature Coltsfoot leaves

Latin name: Tussilago farfara

Meaning: The genus name Tussilago is of Latin origin and means “cough dispeller.”1

Common name: Coltsfoot

Plant family: Compositae – Daisy

Date/Location of specimen: On my property, along the creek bed April – October. It has become my alternative to hosta in that area, as the deer leave it alone.

Description: Coltsfoot is a low-growing, succulent perennial. It reproduces by seed and by its horizontally spreading white roots. Coltsfoot flowers are among the earliest to appear in the spring. They emerge long before the leaves, sometimes blooming in February, and rarely later than April. The bright yellow blossoms resemble dandelion flowers but are flatter and smaller (about 1 inch or 2.5 cm across). The leaves are 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) across, have large-toothed margins, and are round or slightly heart-shaped, somewhat in the form of a colt’s foot. The upper surface of the leaves is a smooth seagreen. The lower surface is covered with soft, white, woolly fibers and veins that radiate like the fingers of an outstretched hand (palmate veins). 1

Pest/Disease & Gardening Limitations: Coltsfoot reproduces mainly by its perennial root system, which forms an extensive underground network. The white roots are about the diameter of a pencil and spread laterally for several feet. Rootbuds are specialized to produce either flower or leaf stems in the spring. 1 Therefore making it very hard to eradicate.

References:
1 http://extension.psu.edu/pests/weeds/weed-id/coltsfoot

Collection Sample #1 of 5 PLANTS

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