Saturday, 24 March 2012
Walking up the steep path to the viewpoint yesterday, I saw what I thought were some early dandelions. But a closer look showed me that they were more like yellow daisies with a flat circle of disc florets in the middle. And the stems wer not smooth tubes like a dandelion's but covered in little scale leaves. These are the flowers of cotsfoot. They close up in dull weather and at night, so I was glad of the sunny weather which had revealed them to me.
The leaves come after the flowers have gone to seed, which has given rise to the name 'son-before-father,' and they are shaped a bit like a horse's footprint, which is where the name 'coltsfoot' comes from. The scientific name 'Tussilago farfara' is in part from the Latin word for cough 'tussis', like the French word 'tousser'. This is because the leaves used to be smoked as a cure for asthma. The picture of coltsfoot leaves below, was not taken at Filnore Woods