Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara is one of the earliest Spring wildflowers found in the Northeast. It’s commonly seen along roadsides almost as soon as the snowbanks melt. The flower itself closely resembles a Dandelion but if you were to take a closer look you would notice the lack of leaves and the very fine ray flowers that distinguish it from Dandelion. The stem is hairy with small ovate shaped scale-like leaves. The back of the leaves, stem and unopened buds all have a reddish, maroon tinge to them. Coltfoot is not a native species wildflower but was rather introduced here by early settlers for medicinal purposes.
Once you see Coltsfoot flowering on the side of the road that’s your sign to hit the woods and look for the other Spring wildflowers like Adders Tongue, Trillium, Merry Bells, Marsh Marigold and Spring Beauty. Spring wildflowers have always been my favorites as there is no better news that winters grip is slipping than seeing a colorful wildflower reaching toward the sun.