Colt’s Foot

Common name:
Colt's Foot
Tussilago farfara
Asteraceae (The Daisy Family)
Flowering period:
February to May
roadsides and waste places, ditches, woodland edges, scree and stony places
Conservation Status:
locally abundant throughout the Burren

Brief Description:

Solitary sulphur-yellow daisy like flowers on short scaly stems with stout scaly runners. Stems lengthen as flowers set to seed. Each seed is crowned with a tuft of silky hairs known as a pappus.  Leaves appear after the flowers, each one is long stalked, triangular and downy with a heart shaped base, white felted undersides.

Noteworthy characteristics

Golden-Yellow flowers which appear before the leaves. Each flower opens in  sunshine bringing much needed colour to the bleak winter landscape, announcing the imminent arrival of Spring

Uses and other points of interest

This plant takes its name from its leaf shape as they resemble  a colt’s hoof.  The leaves were dried and smoked by our ancients for hundreds of years to bring relief for asthma and coughs. Its botanical name Tussilago is derived from the Latin word tussis meaning a cough

Colt’s foot was used as a substitute for expensive tobacco and was mixed with rose petals and other aromatic herbs. It was known as ‘sponnc’ in Ireland

Personal note

A wonderful healing plant found growing in the Burren.  This year (2022) I was further surprised by this flower, a close up investigation revealed its hidden beauty.  The outer radiating florets are female, the inner tubular florets male.  Such a pretty flower bringing  positivity and renewed hope on a bright Spring day





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