The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Butterbur: blatterdock, bog rhubarb, pestilence wort, butter-dock, sweet coltsfoot
Scientific Name: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)


Anyone looking for the butterbur should go for a walk along a stream. This imposing plant, which grows up to 60 centimetres high, is happiest on the banks of watercourses. The soil should at least be loamy and moist. The plant shares a special feature with its close relative the coltsfoot. In March and April, first of all a thick hollow stem pushes out of the still snowy earth, on which the small whitish to pink flower heads are to be found (consisting of several individual blossoms) like small artistsí paintbrushes. Only at the end of the flowering period do the round to heart-shaped leaves grow; these are woolly grey underneath and with a diameter of 30 cm are among the largest of our domestic flora. In winter the plant retreats back to its thick rootstock, which creeps through the earth and establishes itself in adjacent areas.