Perennial herb of the Asteraceae family 10 - 25 cm high. Flowering stems with ovate-oblong scaly leaves. Basal leaves are round-cordate, dense, large, green above, shiny, whitish-tomentose below. Flower baskets are yellow, dandelion-like.
Tussilago farfara is characteristic of forest, less often steppe zones. It inhabits coastal cliffs, talus, river and stream banks, in damp ravines, on young alluvial clay and sandy deposits, along railway embankments, construction pits, open pit mining, clay and ballast pits. On clay cliffs and banks of mountain streams sometimes forms continuous thickets.
Leaves and flower baskets are used as medicinal raw materials. The leaves of coltsfoot should be harvested in the first half of summer, when they are still young, covered with a thick felt cover below and not damaged by rust. They are plucked or cut off about half the length of the petiole. They are dried in attics with good ventilation, under tiled, slate or iron roofs or under sheds, spread on paper or fabric in a layer no more than 2 - 3 cm thick. Properly collected and dried raw materials are odorless and taste bitter. Its moisture content should not exceed 13%.
In scientific medicine, the leaves of coltsfoot are used as an expectorant and emollient. They are used internally in the form of decoctions, as well as as part of breast and diaphoretic teas for bronchitis, laryngitis and bronchiectasis. Also used for abscesses and gangrene of the lungs. Externally used in the form of a poultice as an emollient, disinfectant and anti-inflammatory agent. In Western Europe, the inflorescences of coltsfoot are also used for medical purposes.
This plant blooms earlier than other honey plants, in March-April, and is considered the first herald of spring. Blooms for more than a month. When the sun warms up, its flowers open, and in cloudy weather and in the evening they close. Bees collect nectar and pollen from its flowers. Thanks to early flowering, when there is no bribe in nature, the coltsfoot acquires special value, and due to the richness of nectar and pollen, it even deserves a special breeding for bees. Propagated by seeds that ripen in May and June. Sow them in autumn or early spring.
Earlier, when drawing up flowering calendars, it was customary to consider coltsfoot as the initial plant, from the flowering of which other melliferous plants were located in a row in the order of flowering sequence. Later, hazel was considered the initial plant.