Tussilago farfara (NL: Klein hoefblad / EN: Coltsfoot / DE: Huflattich / FR: Tussilage, Pas-d'âne) is a plant in the family Asteraceae that has traditionally had medicinal uses as a cough suppressant. (The scientific genusname "tussilago" itself means "cough suppressant.") The plant has been used historically to treat lung ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way of smoking. Crushed flowers supposedly cured skin conditions, and the plant has been consumed as a food product. But the discovery of toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the plant has resulted in liver health concerns.
The flowers, which superficially resemble dandelions, appear in early spring (before dandelions appear) and is usually one of the first flowers to discover after winter. The leaves, which resemble a colt's foot in cross section (the common english name refers to this), do not appear usually until after the seeds are set. Thus, the flowers appear on stems with no apparent leaves, and the later appearing leaves then wither and die during the season without seeming to set flowers. The plant is typically between 10 - 30 cm in height. The plant is a pioneer plant that focuses on new grounds and is often found in waste and disturbed places and along roadsides and paths - in this image along the border of the Albert Canal ...
Image: Ranst (BE) - 05/03/2013
© Johan Dierckx
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