Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). Getty Images

Tussilago farfara

Coltsfoot

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

  • Botanical name: Tussilago farfara
  • Common name: Coltsfoot
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial, Weed
Flower colour:

Yellow

Foliage colour:

Green

Coltsfoot or colt’s foot is the most widely used name of the wildflower Tussilago farfara, which has been used medicinally for many hundreds of years to treat coughs, colds and sore throats, hence another of its popular common names, coughwort. Coltsfoot tea is a traditional remedy and is said by many to smell of liquorice. However, coltsfoot has been discovered to contain toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids and studies have found that these cause liver damage, so always consult a qualified herbalist before consuming it in any form. The shape of the rounded, green leaves has given rise to many of this plant’s other common names – as well as colt’s foot, it is known as horse-hoof, bull’s foot, foal’s wort, and ass’s foot.

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In the wild, coltsfoot grows in a wide range of soils, from damp to dry, and thrives on bare or disturbed ground. The bright yellow daisy-like flowers appear early in spring before the leaves and are sometimes mistaken for dandelions, but the scaly crimson stems of coltsfoot clearly distinguish it, as do the large, crinkly, mid to dark green leaves with a silvery reverse that appear as the flowers fade. The flowers open in the day and close up again at night.

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A hardy perennial plant, coltsfoot spreads by underground roots. It’s hard to get rid of as the plant regrows from even the smallest piece of root left behind in the soil, and the roots are brittle so are hard to remove entirely.

How to grow Tussilago farfara

  • Plant size

    50cm height

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Tussilago farfara and wildlife

Tussilago farfara is known for attracting bees.

Attractive to Bees

Does not attract Beneficial insects

Does not attract Birds

Does not attract Butterflies​/​Moths

Does not attract Other pollinators

Is Tussilago farfara poisonous?

Tussilago farfara can be toxic.

Toxic to:

Toxic to Cats

Toxic to Dogs

Toxic to Horses

Toxic to People

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Livestock