Arctic sweet coltsfoot

Petasites frigidus

''Petasites frigidus'', the Arctic sweet coltsfoot or Arctic butterbur, is a species of ''Petasites'' native to Arctic to cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant producing flowering stems in early spring, and large leaves through the summer. The upright flowering stems are 10–20 cm tall, and bear only 5-12 inflorescences, yellowish-white to pink in colour. The leaves are rounded, 15–20 cm broad, with a deeply cleft base and shallowly lobed margin, and rise directly from the underground rootstock. The underside of the leaves is covered with matted, woolly fuzz. It grows in moist shaded ground, preferring stream banks and seeping ground of cut-banks.

While there is some disagreement, some sources identify five varieties of ''P. frigidus'':
*''Petasites frigidus'' var. ''frigidus''
*''Petasites frigidus'' var. ''nivalis'', sometimes referred to as ''P. nivalis'' or ''P. hyperboreus''. This variety is common at subalpine and alpine elevations.
*''Petasites frigidus'' var. ''palmatus'', sometimes referred to as ''P. palmatus'', palmate coltsfoot, or western coltsfoot; mâl-ē-mē’ ; or tä-tä-tē’; pē’-wē is the root.
*''Petasites frigidus'' var. ''sagittatus'', arrowleaf sweet coltsfoot.
*''Petasites frigidus'' var. ''vitifolius''
Palmate Coltsfoot Edible - natives in the Quinault region used this as a food and medicine. The flowers and stalks can be eaten as a vegetable and the plant can also be steeped as a tea. The leaves can even be dried and burned to produce a salt substitute. It appears to be quite versatile.  Geotagged,Petasites frigidus,United States,Winter


The leaf stalks and flower stems are edible, and can be used as a vegetable dish. A salt-substitute can also be made by drying and then burning the leaves. This black, powdery substance will provide a salty taste. However, given the high likelihood of the presence of toxic unsaturated, diester pyrrolizidine alkaloids in this species, consumption should be very limited.


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SpeciesP. frigidus