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European coltsfoot is a clone-forming, rhizomatous perennial that grows to about 20 inches tall. Plants first send up flowering stems in the early spring, each with a large, single yellow daisy-like flowerhead, with yellow ray and disk flowers, at stem tips. Just before or after flowers have formed fluffy dandelion-like seeds, large basal leaves on long petioles grow up from the rhizomes, with somewhat roundish leaf blades that are more or less white-woolly on the undersides. The leaf edges are often angled or squared off as if they were trimmed with scissors. Leaves tend to grow parallel to the ground.

The plant thrives in open to shaded disturbed habitats, forming extensive colonies. It is a known weed in European agricultural systems, where it is difficult to control, as well as native plant communities. In Washington, European coltsfoot has established in riparian areas after knotweed control.

It is a Class B noxious weed designated by the State Noxious Weed Board for required control in King County. There are some similar native plants so be sure to confirm the species before controlling. Also this plant is known to spread in contaminated fill materials so watch for new growth where fill has been used. Control is difficult due to extensive rhizomes that easily break off when soil is disturbed.

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Program offices are located at 201 S. Jackson St., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98104. To contact staff, see the Noxious Weed Control Program Directory, send an email, or call 206-477-WEED (206-477-9333).