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Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

***** Location: Europe
***** Season: Early Spring
***** Category: Plant


This is a native flower of Europe. Some souces say it reached Europe from China.

Other names:
Ass's Foot, Bullsfoot, Clayweed, Cleats, Colt's-foot, Coughwort, Donnhove, Farfara, Fieldhove, Foalswort, Hallfoot, Horsehoof, Huflattich, Tussilage, Fuki-Tanpopo, K'Uan Tung, Oksurukotu, Son-before-father, To Wu

The name 'Tussilago' comes from the Latin 'tussis' which means cough. This reflects a common use of the plant which was probably brought to this country by early settelers for medicinal reasons. The Coltsfoot name refers to the shape of the leaves.

Leaves: The basal leaves appear after the flowers and are roughly heart shaped, irregularly toothed to lobed and from 5-20cm (2- 8") long
Flowers: The flowers have numerous parts and are up to 2.5cm wide (1 inches). They are yellow. Blooms first appear in early spring and continue into mid spring.
Habitat: Damp soils and disturbed areas.

Medical Uses:
The plant has been used since pre history to relieve coughs and other respiratory problems. It is made into herbal teas (un-opened flowers and leaves) and is found in commercial cough preparations. It is an ingredient in concoctions used to treat diarrhea.

The leaves are sometimes smoked for relief of congestion. The crushed leaves or a leaf decoction is used externally where it may be applied to sores, injuries, rashes and painful joints. The large mucilage content accounts for most of the medical benefit derived from the plant. It also contains tannins, salts, sterols and inulin several other possibly active components.


Worldwide use


"Coltsfoot and Dandelion", fuki tanpopo (蕗蒲公英)
"breaking through ice", an old Chinese name,
........................ kantoo 款冬(カントウ)

This flower was introduced during the Meiji period. The name refers to the leaves looking like coltsfoot and the flower like a dandelion.

It is grown in hothouses here and ready for sale during the New Year Holidays. It reminds the Japanese of the Pheasant's eye, another auspicious flower for the New Year.


Things found on the way


among the dead leaves -
diurnal frosts

Tussilage (*)
parmi les feuilles mortes -
gelées diurnes

(*) ou Pas-d'âne

Marcel Peltier

Related words

***** World Kigo Database: Butterbur (fuki, fuki no too)

***** World Kigo Database: Pheasant's eye (fukujusoo)

***** World Kigo Database: Dandelion (tanpopo)


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