Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Colt's-foot - Tussilago farfara   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Only member of Tussilago in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionMostly in the Mountains; several records in the Piedmont; disjunct to Washington County in the outer Coastal Plain. First collected in 1974 at the edge of a swamp by Reedy Creek, Wake County, and thus it was not included in RAB (1968).

Native of Eurasia; in N.A. maritime Canada to Ont. and MN, south to NC and TN; also B.C. to WA and ID.
AbundanceInfrequent to fairly common in the Mountains, rare in the Piedmont, rare in the Coastal Plain. Greatly increasing in recent decades, and now locally common in the northern Mountains. Might be present now in nearly all Mountain counties, and presumably spreading into more northern Piedmont counties now.
HabitatPerennially moist to wet roadbanks, drainage ditches, streamsides, "FACE site off Eubanks Road" (Orange Co.), "colonizing agricultural land" (Washington Co.). Prefers moist ground in NC.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting March-June.
IdentificationColt's-foot is unique in its rather hoof-shaped basal leaves (with some serrations along the margins) that form colonies via rhizomes. One to several flowering stems stand erect 5-10 inches tall, with short, alternate stem leaves and one terminal head of yellow ray florets; the center of each head appears to be composed of disk florets, but these are actually sterile ray florets. In fruit it forms a globose puffball on the then-nodding stem.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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US Status
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