Winter Heliotrope - Petasites fragrans

Scientific Name: Petasites fragrans (Asteraceae). Syn P. pyrenaicus.

English Name: Winter Heliotrope; Sweet-scented Coltsfoot (Daisy family).

French Name: Le Pétasite des Pyrénées (='Pyrenean Petasite'); le Pétasite odorant (='Scented Petasite'); l'Héliotrope d'hiver (='Winter Heliotrope').

5 Key Characters:
  • lilac coloured sweetly scented flowers.
  • rounded or heart-shaped leaves.
  • leaves and flowers appear together in winter.
  • leaves large (10 - 20 cm across).
  • leaves are green on both sides.
Lookalikes: Butterbur P. hybridus, which flowers before the (huge) leaves (with downy undersides) appear.  Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara, which has yellow flowers.

Habitat: Waste ground, banks, roadsides, beside streams.

Flowering Period: December-January-February-March.

Status: Very locally common, but a curiously patchy distribution.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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