The weather has finally warmed up so this afternoon I went for a walk along the Sefton Coastline.
My aim was to see if I could find any sign of the Natterjack Toads but when I reached their breeding ponds there was no si9gn of any activity. Not even any tadpoles of the Common Frog. I decided to look for some wild flowers but again I almost drew a blank. Spring is definitely late this year.
Eventually I found some Coltsfoot, Tussilago Farfara. Family : Compositae.
The flowers are normally seen in February when a flowering stem appears consisting of a single peduncle with numerous reddish bracts and whitish hairs and a terminal, composite yellow flower. The leaves appear much later.
Coltsfoot has been used as a herbal medicine for thousands of years. 50 years ago when I was studying Pharmacognosy, I remember reading about it in Culpeper’s Herbal which was published in 1653.
All parts of the plant contain mucilage together with a little tannin and a bitter amorphous glucoside. The flowers contain a phytosterol and a dihydride alcohol, Faradial.
It’s medicinal uses are as a demulcent, expectorant and tonic.
The botanical name, Tussilago, signifies ‘cough dispeller. Pliny recommended the smoking of the leaves to cure a cough and Coltsfoot used to be the main ingredient in British Herb Tobacco.
When I got back to my car the tide was in and most of the Iron Men were submerged. I grabbed a shot whilst I could.