Thursday, February 17, 2011


Went to the Coonagh Settlement ponds in Limerick today to look for the Mealy Redpolls and over-wintering Chiffchaffs.  There was a good mixture of birds at the site, but I noticed large colonies of Colt's-foot Tussilago farfara sprouting up on the east side of the ponds, where new soil had been brought in onto the site, during the creation of the ponds last year.  Colt's-foot grows in early spring from February through to the end of April.   It is a plant that I personally associate with sand dunes and beaches, but I have seen it growing in hills on the edge of tracks through forestry plantations.

It has medicinal properties. Colts-foot, the dried leaves and/or flower heads of the plant, is one of those plants whose botanical name reflects its medicinal application. Tussilago derives from the Latin tussis, meaning cough, and coltsfoot has long been used to treat that affliction. This member of the family Asteraceae is a low, perennial, woolly herb that in early spring produces a flowering stem with a single terminal yellow flower head. After the flower stem dies down, the hoof-shaped leaves appear from which it derives its name Colt's-foot. Over the years, Colt's-foot has been a very popular folk remedy for coughs and bronchial congestion. The leaves, the blossoms, and even the roots are ingredients in a large number of proprietary tea mixtures that are marketed in Europe for treating these conditions. 

No comments:

Post a Comment