Apr 06 2013

At Last!

Published by at 7:30 am under Phenology,Plants

Coltsfoot blooming (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

At last I’ve found coltsfoot blooming.  Spring is officially here.

Coltsfoot is an introduced plant that blooms earlier than most of our native wildflowers.  It’s not picky about habitat so you’ll find these dandelion-like flowers by the side of the road and in waste places.

When you see the flower you won’t see the leaves.  They’re hidden at the base of the plant right now but will grow into large colts’- foot-shaped leaves after the flowers are gone.

Coltsfoot blooming, from the side (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

 

Normally I find coltsfoot blooming around March 25.  In last year’s hot weather it appeared on March 14.  You can see why I’m impatient.

At last!

(photos by Marcy Cunkelman)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “At Last!”

  1. John P. Englishon 06 Apr 2013 at 9:44 am

    The Native American name was son-before-the-father since the flower arrived before the leaves. The dried, powdered leaves made a salty seasoning. The early pioneers boiled the taproot with sugar to make coltsfoot candy. Supposedly good for sore throats.

  2. Kate St. Johnon 06 Apr 2013 at 9:58 am

    Interesting that they made it into candy. Wikipedia says: “…the discovery of toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the plant has resulted in liver health concerns.”

  3. George Bercikon 06 Apr 2013 at 11:08 am

    During mild winters, I have found Coltsfoot blooming ,in late January,on South – facing slopes. Most often,in shale talus. In any case,it is a most welcome sight.

  4. Marcy Con 06 Apr 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I was surprised to find it was not a native when I was working on the School Native Garden. It starts blooming down the driveway and it’s about 3-7 days later up where the snow gets piled when plowing..I was out yesterday and flies, honeybees and other bees were using it. Not much else is blooming here except for my bulbs…I wonder how many people got really sick or died when they ate a new plant…glad they have history, so they know what is safe to consume..Enjoy the day…it’s going to be a nice one!!!

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