The bright yellow roadside flowers of Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, have long faded away for another year. This Spring Coltsfoot bloomed during the last two weeks of March and the first week of April in South-Central Pennsylvania.
The yellow composite flowers remind one of dandelions, and so do the seed heads. After the flowers are visited by their pollinators the flowers produce their seeds in round heads, just like a dandelion, although the seed heads may be more compact in shape and not quite as round.
All it takes is a gust of wind or physical disturbance from a passerby to disperse the seeds of Coltsfoot. (Photo taken 18Apr2010.)
The fluffy seed head will stand easily a foot tall, so they are usually taller than dandelion seed heads that so many people hate to see in their lawns.
The hoof-shaped leaves of Coltsfoot will continue to grow throughout the spring and summer until they are quite large, even larger than your hand.
Seed heads and leaves of Coltsfoot. Photo taken 2May2010.
Dandelion seed heads are completely spherical and their jagged leaves are easy to spot. Photo taken 2May2010.
Because they have very different leaf shapes no one should mistake dandelion for coltsfoot should they be interested in collecting seeds for their own dispersal.