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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Coltsfoot – Tussilago farfara

 

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Coltsfoot – Tussilago farfara – Hästhov / Tussilago

The Swedish name Hästhov means Horse’s Hoof.

The flowers (which superficially resemble dandelions) appear early in the spring, on stems with no apparent leaves. The leaves, which resemble a colt's foot in cross section, do not appear until after the seeds are set.

The Latin name "tussilago" 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 also been consumed as a food product. Caution, though - there are documented cases of it causing severe liver problems in infants.

Alternative English names include Tash Plant (I’m curious about the origin of that!), Ass's foot, Bull's foot, Butterbur, Coughwort, Foal's foot, Foalswort, Horse Foot and Winter heliotrope. (Source: Wikipedia)

5 comments:

Ginny said...

This is very, very interesting. We have these "weeds" here, and also call them Coltsfoot. I've had a hard time telling them from dandelions! But you have gotten very good pictures. It looks like there's a definate center to the flower, where dandelions look the same all over. Hard to believe it was used as food!! Wonder how it was fixed, or cooked? I'm LOVING these wildflower posts!!

DawnTreader said...

Ginny - Coltsfoot are also smaller than the dandelion, and the stems and leaves are quite different.

Dandelion will be coming up in my post tomorrow.

Sandra said...

we have them here in FL also, never knew the name, now I know ALL the names, i especailly like all that info on the names, some of them are just toooo much. great photos, and Ginny is right we call them weeds here and they are pretty ones at that.

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...I am sneaking in a post while the students are watching a movie!

I am not familiar with these...with the liver damage even though in children...I don't know if I would try it or not!

Dan

DawnTreader said...

I've never tried eating them! I confess I'm not very "daring" in that area... Also not when it comes to trying out herbal medicines (not prescribed by a doctor); knowing all my allergies etc. But I guess people in the "good old days" (hm) had to try to make use of whatever was available and not poisonous...

My other blog: The Island of the Voices

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