Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)flowermeadow

Bloom time: March – May

Additional photos:

General: In the areas where it is found, coltsfoot is usually the first small herb to flower in spring.

Leaves & Twigs:

  • This plant has solid, hairy stems that give rise to the flowers.
  • The distinctive, dark green, hoof-shaped leaves are hairy, which helps to distinguish coltsfoot from similar-looking plants.

Flowers & Fruits:

  • The shiny yellow flowers resemble small dandelions, and open in the sun.
  • The plant’s composite flower heads contain two kinds of flowers: little tube-like ones in the middle and strap-shaped ones on the outside.

Habitat: This herb is often found growing along sunny sidewalks and roadsides, and in rocky fields.

PlantWatch Pointers: Select a typical patch of plants, if the plants are very abundant, mark off a l-metre-square section to observe.

To Observe:

  • First bloom: when the first flowers are open in the observed plants.
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open in the observed plants.

Distribution Map:

Distribution Map

This species is monitored in:

  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Quebec

Coltsfoot was introduced from Europe, where it is still called the “son before the father” plant because its flowers appear long before its woolly leaves.