Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery & Landscapes

A Skunk in the Woods

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

If you are out for a walk and see some greenish purple coming up through the snow it’s OK.skunk cabbage

This is Symplocarpus foetidus, better known as Skunk Cabbage. The Spathe, a hoodlike structure stripped purplish and green, has a green round spadix (or flower), which looks like a tiny pineapple with the leave cut off, on the inside of the hood. As this structure is emerging it produces heat, which melts the snow.

The pineapple like part produces the odor that gives this plant its name. This less than agreeable scent attracts flies that pollinate it. As spring approaches, the large, 2+ feet tall green leaves will emerge, creating quite a show- almost tropical.

When you see skunk cabbage you know you are near a swamp. They grown in wooded wetlands.

And, when you see skunk cabbage, you know spring is near! 

many skunks

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