Petasites palmatus

Botanical Name :Petasites palmatus
Family : Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus : Petasites Mill. – butterbur
Species : Petasites frigidus (L.) Fr. – arctic sweet coltsfoot
Variety : Petasites frigidus (L.) Fr. var. palmatus (Aiton) Cronquist – arctic sweet coltsfoot
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision : Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division:  Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class : Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass:  Asteridae
Order : Asterales

Common Names :Sweet Butterbur ,Western Coltsfoot,Sweet Coltsfoot

Habitat :Petasites palmatus is native to  N. America – Newfoundland to Massachusetts, west to Alaska and south to California. It grows in Low woods, glades and damp clearings. Swamps and along the sides of streams.

Description:
Petasites palmatus is a deciduous  perennial plant growing to 1’h x 3’w   at a fast rate. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

Leaves – round to heart- or kidney-shaped at stem base. 5 – 20 cm wide, deeply divided (more than halfway to centre), into 5 to 7 toothed lobes, green, essentially hairless above, thinly white-woolly below; stem leaves reduced to alternate bracts.

Flowers – in clusters of several to many white, 8 – 12 mm wide heads on glandular, often white-woolly stalks, mostly female or mostly male; ray flowers creamy white; disc flowers whitish to pinkish; involucres 7 – 16 mm high, bracts lance-shaped, hairy at base.; appearing early-summer.

Fruit – hairless, linear achenes, about 2 mm long, 5 to 10 ribs; pappus soft, white; appearingmid-summer.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist or wet soil.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, but prefers a deep fertile humus-rich soil that is permanently moist but not stagnant, succeeding in shade, semi-shade or full sun. Requires a moist shady position. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A very invasive plant, too rampant for anything other than the wild garden. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:   
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or in early spring. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division succeeds at almost any time of the year. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses   :
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Salt.

Young flower stalks, used before the flower buds appear, are boiled until tender and seasoned with salt. Flower buds – cooked. Leafstalks – peeled and eaten raw. The ash of the plant is used as a salt substitute. To prepare the salt, the stems and leaves are rolled up into balls whilst still green, and after being carefully dried they are placed on top of a very small fire on a rock and burned.

Medicinal Uses:

Pectoral;  Salve;  TB.

The roots have been used in treating the first stages of grippe and consumption. The dried and grated roots have been applied as a dressing on boils, swellings and running sores. An infusion of the crushed roots has been used as a wash for sore eyes. A syrup for treating coughs and lung complaints has been made from the roots of this species combined with mullein(Verbascum sp.) and plum root (Prunus sp.).

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Petasites+palmatus
http://www.borealforest.org/herbs/herb27.htm
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=pefrp

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