We've been looking out for them, and then, just yesterday - the first of this season - Violet delights, snuggled down in a lush green urban lawn. Down on all fours, taking in the beauty of these nodding, delicately veined blue violet flowers, our noses are tickled by their deliciously sweet scent. Coinciding with Common Blue Violet, Coltsfoot is also coming out in full bloom, while Dandelion leaves gain ground. With dandelion-like flowers, Coltsfoot delivers flowers first, then, when these die off, large, heart-shaped leaves.
The name "Coltsfoot" springs out of the visual resemblance of the leaf to that of a colt's hoof. The scientific name "Tussilago" => Italian "tussis" means "a cough", indicating the plant's medicine. In the past, this medicinal plant was so highly regarded that its leaf was used as a symbol to identify apothecary shops throughout Europe (Readers Digest North American Wildlife, p 461).
Best practices for harvesting: only take what you need and in a way that supports plant growth. Offer your gratitude. And, if there aren't many plants in the area, please leave them for the bees!
Interested in learning more? 10 Edible Plants for Wild Forage Teas is a free pdf download.