Time of bloom: Early April to June.
Seed-time: May to July.
Range: Nova Scotia to Minnesota, southward to Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Habitat: Moist clay soil; thin pastures, alluvial banks, along brooks and roadsides.
Scapes slender, springing from thick succulent rootstocks and appearing before the leaves, at first but a few inches high, bearing reddish scales that are slightly white-woolly, and holding erect a single flower-head about an inch broad, golden yellow; the flowers have the odor of honey and the pollen furnishes bees with early provender. Ray-florets in several rows, pistillate and fertile; disk-florets perfect but sterile, the corolla tubular and five-cleft; after a head has been fertilized the stalk rapidly elongates to a foot or more in height, and the head is so bowed that it is protected from rain by the bell-shaped involucre until the achenes have formed, when it is again erected and opens out a ball of downy pappus, whiter and more floss-like than that of the dandelion. Near the end of the flowering season the leaves appear, rising from the rootstocks, nearly round, heart-shaped at base, slightly lobed and toothed, thick, smooth, and dark green above but white-woolly underneath, with petioles about as long as the blades; they continue to grow all summer, becoming often six or eight inches broad. (Fig. 348.)
Fig. 348. - Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara). X 1/4.
Prevent seed production by cutting the scapes while in bloom. The weed grows only on clay soil and likes it moist; drainage, liming, manuring, and enriching the ground enables better plants to crowd it out. The horizontal rootstocks grow so near the surface that cultivation turns them out, when they may be readily raked away and removed.