Species of the Month - March 2016


Tussilago farfara

 Tussilago farfara

Coltsfoot is a cheerful sight along road and path sides in March, being one of the earliest plants to flower.  When the flowers appear there are no leaves, just scales up the stem.  The young leaves begin to appear after the flowers are out.

Tussilago farfara

Coltsfoot growing in sandy soil at the head of Loch Feochan.  It is usually found in bare damp places, often on road verges or other disturbed ground, but also on mud or gravel beside burns and rivers.

Tussilago farfara   Tussilago farfara

The flowers are a bit like those of Dandelions but have a bundle of tubular florets in the centre, like a Daisy, with ray florets all round the outside.  Dandelion and similar flowers only have the ray florets.  The tubular florets in Coltsfoot have nectar to attract bees, but it can pollinate itself if there are no bees around.

Tussilago farfara   Tussilago farfara

From a distance the seedheads look like white flowers in the grass

The stems are upright when flowering, then droop after flowering, and become upright again when the seedheads form.  For photos of this and of the leaves see Coltsfoot page on West Highland Flora.

Tussilago farfara

The fruting head is like a Dandelion "clock".  Each seed is attached to a feathery pappus which enables it to blow away in the wind.

Please send in your Coltsfoot sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your plant, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LNHG Facebook page.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Number seen  
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g quantity, habitat   


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
LNHG Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

Tussilago farfara
4 Mar - Clump found by Carl at Connel on heap of soil and gravel, photo taken 7 Mar.

7 Mar - Sallie found 83 on the shore below the Onich Hotel in just about a 5 metre strip.  Further along the shore  were many smaller groups.

20 Mar - In many places along road verge between Ardchattan and North Connel - Carl

28 Mar - In riverside woods, Glencoe - Jan

30 Mar - in Tesco car park beds and Black Lynn banking, Oban - Carl



Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here are the previous March species:

Mar 2015 - Hebrew Character
Mar 2014 - Hairy Bittercress
Mar 2013 - Oak Beauty
Mar 2012 - March Moth
Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

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Complete list of Species of the Month

This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated.