Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Colts' Foot, Butterbur, Coughwort, Horsehoof
Tussilago farfara

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tussilago (tuss-ill-AH-go) (Info)
Species: farfara (FAR-far-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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No positives
4 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 3, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

In the garden here in Boston Z6a, this plant spreads uncontrollably by a thick rhizome that's too deep to dig out. The leaves emerge very late and aren't fully expanded till July. If you're going to use herbicide, that's when to apply it. It's somewhat resistant to glyphosate. Multiple applications over several seasons may be necessary.

In North America, this is widely naturalized in moist places, often near water and wetlands, where it often forms large monocultures. Native to Eurasia and North Africa, here in the US it's widely considered invasive of natural areas. It's prohibited in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and has been declared a noxious weed in Alabama and Oregon.

Neutral akdebs On May 16, 2011, akdebs from Juneau, AK wrote:

I have been asked by our Master Gardener's group not to share this plant with others in my area. I haven't decided it's invasive here, but it's definitely aggressive. I will be contacting the people who want some before I eradicate this from my property. I like the looks of it and the bees and hummingbirds seem to appreciate the early blooms. The seed heads are like dandilions and they do pop up in the strangest of places.

Negative mushkamusic On Sep 6, 2010, mushkamusic from CLEVELAND, Nova Scotia, Canada
Canada wrote:

We moved to Nova Scotia 3 years ago and there is not one spot in our lot that has not been invaded by this weed! Run from it! She propagates by rhizomes so it is almost impossible to control, let alone eradicate it!!

Neutral melody On Aug 24, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I do not grow this plant, information only.

This plant is spread by rhizomes and by the dandelion-like seeds.It is found along roadsides and in waste places and the basal leaves are heart shaped and slightly toothed with a whitish underside.

It grows from Ontario east to Newfoundland and Nove Scotia, south to NC, west to TN and north to MN.

The common name is because of the supposed resemblance to a colt's foot. The genus name, from the Latin 'tussis'(cough) which is giving credit to the plant's reputation as a cure for coughs.

The extract of fresh leaves can be used in hard candy for cough drops and the leaves can be steeped for a cough suppressant tea.

Neutral tussilago On May 26, 2002, tussilago wrote:

The root and the flowers contain pyrolizidinic alkaloids that produce liver toxicity. The leaves contain very small amounts, but Tussilago farfara should be administrated with care, especially for children. The alkaloids acumulate in the liver, so the treatment should be short.

Neutral Lilith On May 4, 2002, Lilith from Durham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Native to Northern Europe, Colt's-foot is one of the earliest Spring flowers with clumps of scaly, purplish stems, each ending in a yellow flower-head. It rivals bulbous plants for early flowering because it has thick underground stems that store food. Large leaves arise direct from the ground after the flowers, each initially covered with thick, felt-like hairs and opening to make a dense, shady canopy beneath which few other plants survive.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Niantic, Connecticut
Villa Park, Illinois
Barbourville, Kentucky
Oakland, Maryland
Upton, Massachusetts
Helena, Montana
Ithaca, New York
Staten Island, New York
Emporium, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Souderton, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Blacksburg, Virginia (2 reports)
Broadway, Virginia
Richlands, Virginia
Seattle, Washington

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