COLTSFOOT (Tussilago farfara L.)

Vivacious plant (lives for several years), 10-30 cm high; wide and fleshy rhizome. The underground stems (rhizome) grows fine roots towards the ground, while many shoots, covered in scales, grow upwards and end up in a capitulate flower (flower resembles the daisy, with a central rosette surrounded by numerous petals), with no leaves. These are formed later on, directly in the rhizome, all sprouting from one same spot with a large, grooved petiole. The limb (flat surface of the leaf) is heart-shaped with toothed edges. They are green in the above face and white beneath. It’s densely pilose. An old name for Coltsfoot was Filius ante patrem (the son before the father), because the star-like flowers appear and wither before the broad. Flower scapes, 10-30 cm end up in a solitaire capitules, of 1.5-3.5 cm diameter, inserted in a wide and scaly stem, surrounded by reddish bracts and yellow flowers, ligulate at the peripheral zone and flosculous at the center. After blooming, hanging capitulate turn erect while the fruit ripens. Fruits are achenia with a white pappus holding filaments which help in its pollination by wind. It belongs tothe Asteracea (=Compositae) family.

Habitat and harvesting. It is found in clay soils in Northern, Central and Eastern Spain. Harvesting: Flowers are collected in February-April, before they open, and leaves in May-June.

Part used
Leaves and flowers.

> Respiratory disorders: colds, pharyngitis, laryngitis or tracheitis, irritating cough, hoarseness, bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary emphysema, etc.
> Stomatitis.