Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. July 2011.

Scientific name: Tussilago farfara L.

Common name(s): coltsfoot, tash plant, ass’s foot, bull’s foot, butterbur, coughwort, farfara, foal’s foot, foalswort, horse foot, winter heliotrope

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

-leaves are

  • alternate
  • basal

– flowers in spring before leaves emerge


-moist sites

-disturbed sites

-shores of rivers

Natural History:

-native to Europe

-introduced for its medical properties

-herbal remedy

-carcinogenicity of young, pre-blooming flowers of coltsfoot

  •  due to senkirkine, a hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid



Go Botany. “Tussilago Farfara L.” Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot): Go Botany, 2020,

Hirono, I., Mori, H., & Culvenor, C. C. (1976). Carcinogenic activity of coltsfoot, tussilago farfara l. Gann, 67(1), 125.