nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Tussilago Farfara

Coltsfoot – first flower of spring

with 5 comments

Although other flowers quickly follow, the first flower to bloom along our New Brunswick roads is Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara L.). Its bright yellow flowers are often mistaken for Dandelion, but Coltsfoot is recognised by a quick check for the leaves … Coltsfoot blooms before its leaves appear.

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The yellow blooms of Tussilago form large patches in waste areas, beside brooks and roads, and on damp hillsides. Its dandelion-like flowers are borne on scaly, leafless stems. Later, the large, woolly leaves appear. Other names for the plant are Son-before-the-Father, which refers to the appearance of flowers before the leaves, and pas-d’âne (literally donkey-steps). The scientific names are from the Latin tussis, meaning a cough and referring to the European use of the plant as a remedy for such ailments, and the Latin word for coltsfoot, farfarus. The plant was named by Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who established the present day system of naming plants.

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Coltsfoot

Tussilago Farfara L.

~

Gold-

splashed beside the road

like prints

of a frisky colt’s feet

~

at first glance-

an early dandelion!

but-

too early

stem scaly

no leaves          below the bloom

no perfume.

~

Coltsfoot,

Son-before-the-Father

(flowers before the leaves).

Introduced from

far away.

~

Old wives say

boiled greens

will ease

a cough.

~

Long ago

Tussilago

sprang from where

a burro trod

among the palms

(pas-d’ane).

~

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Poem published as: ‘Coltsfoot’, Winter 1993, The Antigonish Review 92:76-77.

Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

May 4, 2018 at 7:30 am

Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara L.)

with 13 comments

Although it has been snowing sporadically this month, our recent days of very, very warm weather tell me spring has arrived.  As a result, I am watching the roadsides for the first flowers of spring.  Even before the snow is out of the woods, it begins to melt along the roadsides as they warm in the lengthening hours of sun.  And the cycle of bloom begins again.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara L.) is one of the first plants seen in early spring.  It forms large patches in waste areas, beside brooks and roads, and on damp hillsides.  People often mistake Tussilago for Dandelion, but it is quite different.  Its yellow flowers are borne on scaly, leafless stems.  The large, woolly leaves don’t appear until later in the season.  In spite of its early appearance in spring, Tussilago actually has late flowers.  The flower buds are formed in autumn at the base of the plant, and pass winter underground, flowering in the first spring sunlight.

Other names for the plant are Son-before-the-Father, which refers to the appearance of flowers before the leaves, and pas-d’âne (literally donkey-steps).  The scientific names are from the Latin tussis, meaning a cough, referring to the use of the plant as a remedy for such ailments, and the Latin word for coltsfoot, farfarus.  The plant was named by Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who established the present day system of naming plants.

Although the plant was used by pioneers for its medicinal effects, it is now known that Tussilago contains harmful alkaloids.  Tea made from Coltsfoot has caused health problems in infants and pregnant women, so its use as a cough remedy is not recommended.  In some States, Coltsfoot is considered a noxious weed.

~

~

Coltsfoot

Tussilago Farfara L.

~

Gold-

splashed beside the road

like prints

of a frisky colt’s feet

~

at first glance-

an early dandelion!

but-

too early

stem scaly

no leaves         below the bloom

no perfume.

~

Coltsfoot,

Son-before-the-Father

(flowers before the leaves).

Introduced from

far, far away.

Old wives say

boiled greens

will ease

a cough.

~

Long ago

Tussilago

sprang from where

a burro trod

among the palms

(pas-d’ane)

~

~

Published as: ‘Coltsfoot’, Winter 1993, The Antigonish Review 92:76-77.

Revised

© Jane Tims  1993

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