Typically, the first wildflower I find in bloom every year is colsfoot, good old Tussilago farfara. Since one of its favorite habitats is the loose gravel along the sides of the roads its bright yellow color is easy to spot.
The earliest I have recorded of seeing it in bloom is March 15 way back in the 80s when I was living at Whipple Dam State Park and found it along a road there. So since that’s only 12 days away and with global warming, it could be anytime now.
Colt’s foot is one of the earliest flowers each spring. The alternative name ‘son-before-father’ refers to the fact that the bright yellow flowers held on purplish woolly shoots are often present before the leaves . The large leaves with their thick felt-covered undersides occur in rosettes. They are similar in shape to animal hooves, hence the names colt’s or foal’s-foot. The scientific name Tussilago derives from the latin for ‘cough’ (Tussis), and hints at the widespread smoking of the dried leaves in folk-medicine to cure coughs. It is still smoked in some areas today as herbal tobacco, and the names ‘baccy plant’ and ‘poor-man’s-baccy’ survive in some parts of Britain