Coltsfoot is a herbaceous perennial. Flowers emerge first, before the foliage. The bright yellow flowers have both disk florets (center) and ray florets around the edge. This gives the flower a slightly bowl shape. Stems are covered with scaly bracts, which give emerging flower stalks an asparagus-like appearance, and white wooly hairs. The flowers will bloom and go to seed before a basal rosette of heart-shaped, slightly serrated leaves emerge. Again like the dandelion, it will get a white fluffy seed head but more compact and smaller than the globe of dandelion fluffs. The seeds of coltsfoot will germinate in spring and summer after they are shed, developing roots and leaves by fall. Flower buds will form throughout winter on the rhizome root to come up next spring.
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