Monday, April 21, 2014

Bikes and Flowers

My bike ready for action
My bike folded
in the trunk of 
my car.
It was warm today!  I unfolded my bike for the first time since last fall and my wife and I went for a ride along the rail trail through Avon and Farmington.

 Along the way I found some coltsfoot.  The blooms look similar to dandelions, but coltsfoot is a lot more interesting.

First of all, note the lack of leaves.  For a long time it was thought that the flowers that show up in early spring, and the 
Coltsfoot flower
leaves that don't show up until later, were from separate plants.  That just shows what happens when you don't pay attention.
Lots of coltsfoot flowers

The name of the plant comes from those leaves, which look like a small horse's hoof if you have enough imagination

The plant can be used to make a tea (and candy from the tea that tastes really good) that is very effective for coughs.  The scientific name for coltsfoot is Tussilago, which means a treatment for coughs.  That is the reason why an English plant is so common here.  People brought their medicinal plants with them.
Coltsfoot leaves, with a late
flower - pay attention!

In the days when most people couldn't read, a painting of a coltsfoot leaf over the door showed people where to buy their medicine.

Now it means that spring really is here!

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