The Q&A Archives: What Is Colts Foot?

Question: Hello,
I would like to know what Colts Foot is. I heard about it on a TV program but cannot find it in any of my gardening books. It was a beautiful plant. Is it a perenial? Does it like sun or shade can I grow it here in Va ? Do you know if it a popular plant that may be readily available?
Thank You
Pat Parks

Answer: Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, is a naturalized plant from eastern Quebec to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Minnesota; it is a "weed" in that it can be found along disturbed areas such as cuts, roadsides, creek banks and so on. It can be difficult to notice because it blooms very early in the spring before the leaves appear. Do not confuse it with dandelion! It prefers a cool location with moist soil but can also be found growing in gravel. You might be able to grow it, although you are a just bit south of its typical range. In a brief search I am unable to locate a commercial source for plants or seed. If you can find a patch of it, you might be able to collect some seed and start it at home that way. You might find it at an area nursery specializing in herbs, as well. Alternatively, an internet search using the Latin name may bring up some sources for you. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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