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)





Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Other details:

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


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


Double Springs, Alabama

Niantic, Connecticut

Villa Park, Illinois

Barbourville, Kentucky

Eddington, Maine

Oakland, Maryland

Stoughton, Massachusetts

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 23, 2017, Katyalast from Stoughton, MA wrote:

It's only a weed if you don't want it. To kill it, you can probably put a tarp on it and take away the sun, or burn it. But coltsfoot is known in my country for it's health benefits, but only the leaf is edible. It treats any kind of cough, including bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough. Think twice before yhrowing it out. At least pick some and dry the leaves and store them to brew when needed. You can even give it out or sell it. If it thrives in the wild, then it has good resistance against disease, and can help us if eaten.


On Mar 28, 2017, coltsfoot121 from Eddington, ME wrote:

This has to be one of the best groundcovers to have in the garden. The reason being is because the plant has barely any have any problems with pests, diseases (Except for rust), or soil conditions. The only problem with this plant is drought (Because the plant requires moist soil to grow).


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.


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.


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!!


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.


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.


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.