Coltsfoot at first glance looks a lot like a dandelion. The flower heads are on stems of that height, and not much smaller. But on close inspection, you can see that the flowers are not all the same strap shape you see on a dandelion. These are more like an aster, with tubular center flowers, and strap shapes only on the outside. And the leaves only appear after the flowers.
The coltsfoot name comes from the shape of the leaves, although the leaves are a lot larger. I clearly remember the first time I saw this flower on a roadside in New Jersey's Poconos, while I was changing a tire in a thunderstorm. Coltsfoot patches of this Eurasian immigrant can be seen in very early spring in CT, DE, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, BC, NB, MB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, on SPM, and every continent except Antarctica. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 3/18/12.