coltsfoot, Eurasian perennial herb ( Tussilago farfara ) of the family Asteraceae ( aster family), now a widespread weed in most northern lands. The scaly flower stalk bears a yellow flower head and downy, somewhat dandelionlike fruits. The leaves—appearing after the flowers—are large and vaguely heart shaped. Coltsfoot was long a popular cough remedy. Other plants are sometimes called coltsfoot, e.g., the related winter heliotrope, or sweet coltsfoot ( Petastites fragrans ), an ornamental. Coltsfoot is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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