Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
Asteraceae or Sunflower Family
Yellow, dandelion-like flower heads on scaly stalks.
Seedheads also resemble those of dandelions. Leaves are about
5 inches wide, heart-shaped, with jagged edges. Flower heads
appear in very early spring, one of the very earliest flowers in the
park. Leaves appear much later, after the flowers have gone to
An alien invader. Unknown in Virginia forty years ago, but now
spreading along roadsides. Several years ago, there was one
colony in the park, along the bottom of the cliffs behind the
wetland inside the gate. It has since spread to the cliffs
near the Grand Staircase, to the north Riverway bridge, to the banks just outside the tunnel under main street, to wet areas on the east slope, and to the floodplain of Connelly's Run.
Likes open, moist places, and (mostly) tends not to invade woodlands.
In bloom, it is distinctive since nothing else has flower heads
like that so early in the spring, except dandelions, which have
hollow, non-scaly stems and leaves. In the summer, it is
easily overlooked, but the large, jagged, heart-shaped leaves are