Tussilago farfara, Coltsfoot

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species October 05, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Tussilago farfara, Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot is a perennial, herbaceous plant that invades disturbed areas throughout much of the eastern United States. The basal leaves are heart-shaped, slightly toothed, and up to 6 in. (15.2 cm) wide. The dandelion-like flowers are bright yellow in color and emerge before the leaves in early spring. The white, fluffy seed heads resemble dandelions. It also reproduces through rhizomes. Coltsfoot invades moist, open, disturbed areas such as stream banks, ditches, and fields. Spreading both by seed and rhizomes allows it to form large colonies, which can displace native species. Coltsfoot is native to Europe and was probably introduced into the United States by early settlers for medicinal purposes.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Asterales > Asteraceae > Tussilago farfara L.

Synonym(s): colts foot

Tussilago farfara - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Coltsfoot - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System?

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Plant

Coltsfoot is a perennial, herbaceous plant.

Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, bugwood.org Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,   bugwood.org

Foliage

The basal leaves are heart-shaped, slightly toothed, and up to 6 in. (15.2 cm) wide.

Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration, bugwood.org Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,   bugwood.org

Flower

The dandelion-like flowers are bright yellow in color and emerge before the leaves in early spring.

Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, Ohio State University, bugwood.org Jan Samanek, State Phytosanitary Administration,  bugwood.org

Fruit

The white, fluffy seed heads resemble dandelions. It also reproduces through rhizomes.

Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,   bugwood.org Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, bugwood.org

Native Species That Can Resemble Coltsfoot

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

Additional Images for Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot - Images at Invasive.org

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's college of agriculture, Cooperative Extension office, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - University of Connecticut

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.