The Coltsfoot is unusual in that it first flowers, then puts its leaves out. It is, in my estimation, the first wild flower that one will see in the spring. Its flower looks much like the dandelion, but it is smaller and will be found before dandelions make their appearance. The flowers sit on a distinctive looking stem, colorless with small leaflike scales folded around it. In shape, the leaves look like rhubarb leaves, however they are smaller and dull in appearance. The plant takes its common name from the shape of the leaves, a coltsfoot imprint. By the time the leaves push out from the root the plant is usually finished blooming. And, Oh Yes! The coltsfoot comes to us from, Europe. Coltsfoot likes growing in the worst of places; one will spot them quicker in the city than in the country.
The coltsfoot is used in old folk remedies. If one had a cough then likely a batch of sugar drops would be boiled up using the leaves. Also, they made a tea from the leaves. (See McLeod, p. 70, for recipes.)
I read (Griffin) that the "leaves can be dried and burned and ashes used as a salt substitute."