Colt's-foot

©Katrina Martin/2020VISION

Colt's-foot

©Philip Precey

Colt's-foot

Scientific name: Tussilago farfara
Looking like a short Dandelion, but with a much rounder middle, Colt's-foot is a 'weed' of waste ground and field edges that brightens up early spring with its sunshine-yellow flower heads.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 15cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

February to April

About

A common and creeping perennial of bare, damp or disturbed ground, Colt's-foot can be found on waste ground, field edges and roadside verges. Sun-yellow, daisy-like, composite flower heads (made up to lots of tiny flowers) appear as early as February, and well before the hoof-shaped leaves (hence the common name). Colt's-foot continues to brighten up rough ground until April.

How to identify

Colt's-foot has large, yellow flower heads, similar to those of the Common Dandelion and Cat's-ears, but their prominent, round middles give the identity of this plant away. Its flowers are borne on scaly stems and the leaves are rounded or heart-shaped.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The fact that the flowers of Colt's-foot appear before the leaves do has led to one of its other common names: 'Son-before-father'.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of buttercups in your lawn or nettles near your compost heap, to see who comes to visit? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.