Petasites frigidus

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Petasites frigidus
Petasites frigidus 1925.JPG
Arctic Sweet Coltsfoot
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Senecioneae
Genus: Petasites
Species: P. frigidus
Binomial name
Petasites frigidus
(L.) Fr.
  • Nardosmia angulosa Kuprian.
  • Nardosmia angulosa Cass.
  • Nardosmia arctica (A.E.Porsild) Á.Löve & D.Löve
  • Nardosmia frigida (L.) Hook.
  • Nardosmia nivalis (B.D.Greene) Jurtzev
  • Nardosmia palmata (Aiton) Hook.
  • Nardosmia sagittata (Banks ex Pursh) Hook.
  • Nardosmia vitifolia (Greene) Á.Löve & D.Löve* P. alaskanus Rydb.
  • P. arcticus A.E.Porsild
  • P. corymbosus (R.Br.) Rydb.
  • P. dentata Blank.
  • P. gracilis Britton
  • P. hookerianus (Nutt.) Rydb.
  • P. hyperboreus Rydb.
  • P. nivalis Greene
  • P. palmatus (Aiton) A.Gray
  • P. sagittatus (Banks ex Pursh) A.Gray
  • P. speciosus (Nutt.) Piper
  • P. trigonophylla Greene
  • P. × vitifolius Greene
  • P. warrenii H.St.John
  • Tussilago palmata Aiton
  • Tussilago frigida L.
  • Tussilago sagittata Pursh

Petasites frigidus (Arctic butterbur or Arctic sweet coltsfoot) 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.

P. f. var. palmatus fruit and leaves
Illustration of Petasites frigidus

While there is some disagreement, some sources identify five varieties of P. frigidus:

  • P. frigidus var. frigidus
  • P. frigidus var. nivalis, sometimes referred to as P. nivalis or P. hyperboreus. This variety is common at subalpine and alpine elevations.[2]
  • P. frigidus var. palmatus, sometimes referred to as P. palmatus, Palmate Coltsfoot, or Western Coltsfoot; mâl-ē-mē’ (Konkow language);[3] or tä-tä-tē’;[4] pē’-wē is the root.[5]
  • P. frigidus var. sagittatus, arrowleaf sweet coltsfoot.
  • P. frigidus var. vitifolius[6][7]


The leaf stalks and flower stems (with flowers) 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.


  1. ^ "The Plant List". 
  2. ^ Mathews, Daniel. Cascade-Olympic Natural History. Raven Editions, 1999, p. 186, ISBN 978-0-9620782-0-0
  3. ^ Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Government Printing Office. p. 406. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Chesnut, p. 408
  5. ^ Chesnut, p. 407
  6. ^ Pojar, Jim; MacKinnon, Andy. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, 1994, p. 294, ISBN 978-1-55105-040-9
  7. ^ Classification | USDA PLANTS

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