Tussilago farfara is a perennial herb 5-50 cm tall, colonial from rhizomes.
Leaves rounded, 5-20 cm long and wide, in basal cluster after flowers fade, toothed and shallowly lobed, appearing angled, base deeply lobed, white-wooly below, leaf stalks elongate, hairy, persisting into winter.
Flowers yellow, in heads to 3 cm wide, rays narrow, numerous, bracts of flower head 0.8-1.5 cm long, blooming before new leaves appear; blooms April-May, singly on elongate, bracteate stems, flowering stems often in very dense clumps.
Fruit an achene, plumed, wind dispersed.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Disturbed edges, moist roadsides, fill.
Notes: Life cycle: rapid seed germination in spring following seed dispersal, development of a taproot and rhizomes in summer along with leaf growth and flower bud formation by autumn, leaves die back in winter, flower bud development continues. In spring, flowers bloom before leaves emerge, seed is set, dispersed, flower stem dies back and rhizome fragments. Rhizomes of previous year form leaves the second year and flower the third year (Ogden 1974).