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Petasites hybridus - (L.)P.Gaertn.,C.A.Mey.&Scherb.

Common Name Butterbur, Pestilence wort
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet meadows and copses by streams to 1500 metres[17]. The female form is rare or absent from much of Britain[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, north and west Asia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Petasites hybridus Butterbur, Pestilence wort


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Petasites hybridus Butterbur, Pestilence wort
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Petasites hybridus is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in leaf from April to December, in flower from March to May. The species is 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 is pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

P. officinalis. P. ovatus. P. vulgaris. Tussilago petasites. T. hybrida.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Meadow; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Antispasmodic  Appetizer  Cardiotonic  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Homeopathy

Butterbur is widely considered to be an effective cough remedy and recent experiments have shown it to have remarkable antispasmodic and pain-relieving properties[244]. It acts specifically on the bile ducts, stomach and duodenum[254]. The plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, in isolation these are toxic to the liver[254]. The root and the leaves are analgesic, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, diaphoretic and diuretic[4, 9]. A decoction is taken as a remedy for various respiratory problems such as asthma, colds, bronchitis and whooping cough and also other complaints such as fevers and urinary complaints[4, 254]. It is also very effective in the treatment of gastrointestinal complaints and biliary dyskinesia[244, 254]. Externally it can be used as a poultice to speed the healing of wounds and skin eruptions[254]. The leaves are harvested in early summer, the root in late summer to autumn. Both can be dried for later use[9]. Because the plant contains potentially toxic alkaloids its internal use cannot be recommended[254]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots[4]. It is used in the treatment of severe and obstinate neuralgia[4].

References

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References

Cultivation details

Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1], but prefers a deep fertile humus-rich soil that is permanently moist but not stagnant, succeeding in shade, semi-shade or full sun[200]. Requires a moist shady position[187]. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[233]. A very invasive plant, too rampant for anything other than the wild garden[187, 200]. Its roots are very difficult to eradicate[200]. It is best to only grow the male form in the garden to prevent unwanted seedlings popping up all over the place[200]. The growth is so dense and vigorous, with large leaves that can be 75cm or more across, that virtually no other plant is able to grow amongst this species[4]. Plants are a useful early nectar source for bees[200]. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

References

Temperature Converter

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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.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Petasites albusButterburPerennial0.6 4-8 FLMHFSNM21 
Petasites frigidusSweet Coltsfoot, Arctic sweet coltsfoot, Arrowleaf sweet coltsfoot, Golden Palms Coltsfoot, ButterbPerennial0.2 6-10 FLMHFSNMWe21 
Petasites hyperboreusArctic Sweet ColtsfootPerennial0.2 4-8 FLMHFSNMWe21 
Petasites japonicusSweet Coltsfoot, Japanese sweet coltsfoot, ButterburPerennial0.6 5-9 FLMHFSNMWe321
Petasites palmatusSweet Butterbur, Golden Palms Coltsfoot, Sweet Coltsfoot, ButterburPerennial0.4 6-10 FLMHFSNMWe21 
Petasites saggitatusArrowleaf Sweet ColtsfootPerennial0.2 - FLMHFSNMWe21 
Petasites speciosa Perennial0.0 - FLMHFSNMWe20 
Petasites vitifoliusArctic sweet coltsfootPerennial0.6 0-0 FLMHFSNMWe10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Author

(L.)P.Gaertn.,C.A.Mey.&Scherb.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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