One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Eurasian plant of the daisy family, with yellow flowers that appear in early spring, followed by large, heart-shaped leaves. It is used in herbal medicine for the treatment of coughs and respiratory disorders.
- ‘In fact, a replica of the coltsfoot flower used to be placed above the doorway of Pharmacies in Paris, as an emblem of effective medicine.’
- ‘The earliest records date back to 1736, and show that some species - ash trees and coltsfoot for example - do not appear to be affected by warmer and earlier springs.’
- ‘Even on a late February afternoon, spring flowers were already well in evidence, especially butterbur, coltsfoot, dog's mercury, barren strawberry and even the odd primrose.’
- ‘Besides picking the more familiar lemon balm, coltsfoot and mullein, I found myself picking honeysuckle flowers for their antibacterial and antiviral properties.’
- ‘It was also explained to the volunteers that in some species such as coltsfoot, flowers may close at night or in cloudy weather.’
Mid 16th century: translating medieval Latin pes pulli ‘foal's foot’, with reference to the shape of the leaves.
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