Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 16: Coltsfoot

Each day brings a new hint of spring. Today at work as we were engaged in our annual stint of yard work, we came across a couple of coltsfeet blooming under the pine tree out front. Coltsfoot is usually one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom, and it seems to like the lawn of the Land Trust office--especially a moist swath down by the river that at its peak almost glows with a conglomeration of coltsfoot constellations. It was a refreshing reward for our labors to come across the bright yellow faces of this little flower, which is often mistaken for a dandelion. It gets its name from its hoofprint-shaped leaves, which haven't even sprouted yet. No green here, just the flower heads atop their scruffy stalks poking up out of last year's dead grass and weeds. Coltsfoot's genus name Tussilago means "cough supressant," and herbal pharmacies sell extracts of coltsfoot to help cure lung problems. But right now, the thumbnail-sized blossoms amid the pine needles--in addition to the bright sun we've enjoyed all day--are working for me as mood enhancers.

This year's flowers might be a little earlier than usual. I took this photo at my office on 14 April 2005.

Small suns amid weeds--
early flowers make us smile.
Reward for raking.

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