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Petasites hybridus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Grassland, marshes, riverbanks, roadsides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
Large lilac-pink spikes growing up to 30cm and appearing before the leaves emerge.
The fruit and seeds (achenes) are white, hairy tufts, each up to 3mm in length.
Enormous rhubarb-like leaves, up to 1 metre across. The leaves are heart-shaped, toothed and grey beneath.
Other Names:
Blatterdock, Bog Rhubarb, Bogshorns, Butcher's Rhubarb, Butterbur Coltsfoot, Butterdock, Butterfly Dock, Capdockin, Coughwort, Devil's Hat, Donnhove, European Pestroot, Exwort, Flapper-bags, Flapperdock, Fuki, Horsehoof, Hybrid Butterbur, Langwort, Monk's Rhubarb, Paddy's Rhubarb, Pestilence Wort, Plaguewort, Purple Butterbur, Sweet Coltsfoot, Umbrella Leaves, Umbrella Plant, Western Coltsfoot, Wild Rhubarb.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Petasites hybridus, also known as hybrid butterbur or sweet coltsfoot, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in damp, shaded areas, such as woodlands, along streams, and in wetland areas. P. hybridus is a herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of up to 1 meter. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and small, yellow or pink flowers that bloom in the spring. The plant is valued for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. P. hybridus is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate damp, shaded conditions.


Butterbur, Petasites hybridus, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is commonly known for its large leaves and clusters of small, yellow flowers that bloom in early spring.

Butterbur has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its various health benefits. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and anti-allergic properties, making it an effective treatment for conditions such as migraines, asthma, and seasonal allergies.

In recent years, scientific studies have shown that butterbur extract is indeed effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. In these studies, participants who took butterbur extract showed a significant reduction in migraine attacks compared to those who took a placebo. The extract works by blocking the production of certain chemicals that trigger migraines, making it a natural and safe alternative to traditional headache medication.

In addition to its use for migraines, butterbur has also been found to be effective in treating other conditions such as asthma, hay fever, and bladder problems. The anti-inflammatory properties of the plant make it a great natural remedy for conditions that involve inflammation in the body, such as asthma and hay fever.

Butterbur is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and tea. When purchasing butterbur, it is important to look for a product that has been standardized to contain a specific amount of the active ingredient, petasin, which is responsible for the plant’s health benefits.

It's important to note that butterbur should be used with caution, as some parts of the plant contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can be toxic to the liver and cause other serious health problems. However, commercially available butterbur products are usually PA-free and considered safe for consumption.

When using butterbur, it is recommended to follow the recommended dosage on the label, as excessive consumption can cause adverse effects such as gastrointestinal upset and skin irritation. People with liver or kidney problems, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women, should consult a healthcare professional before using butterbur.

In addition to its medicinal use, butterbur also has ornamental value and is often used as an attractive addition to gardens and landscapes. Its large, heart-shaped leaves and clusters of yellow flowers make it a unique and visually appealing plant.

It is also important to keep in mind that while butterbur has been shown to be effective for certain conditions, it is not a cure and may not work for everyone. Some people may experience little to no improvement, while others may find that it provides significant relief.

Additionally, butterbur should not be used as a substitute for prescribed medications or treatments, especially for serious conditions like asthma. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement or treatment, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking other medications.

One of the advantages of butterbur over conventional medications is its low risk of side effects. While some people may experience mild side effects like gastrointestinal discomfort, these are generally rare and can be easily managed.

In conclusion, butterbur, Petasites hybridus, is a useful plant with a long history of medicinal use. Its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and anti-allergic properties make it an effective treatment for conditions like migraines, asthma, and seasonal allergies. While it may not work for everyone, it is generally considered safe and has low risk of side effects. As with any natural supplement, it is important to consult a healthcare professional and follow recommended dosages to ensure its safe and effective use.


Video 1: Butterbur filmed at Appley Bridge, Lancashire on the 4th March 2023.


Video 2: Butterbur filmed near Birkacre Garden Centre, Chorley, Lancashire on the 24th March 2023.


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