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Skunk Cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage is one of the first plants to bloom in spring. Its flowers are often partly or wholly hidden beneath last year's fallen leaves. Like many other dark-colored flowers, skunk cabbage is pollinated mostly by flies. The flowers actually produce heat -- a benefit to the flies out in cold weather. The leaves emerge after the flowers. They smell unpleasant if they are crushed, hence the name "skunk cabbage."

• Family: Arum (Araceae)
• Habitat: wet woods, marshes, streamsides
• Height: 1-2 feet
• Flower size: actual flowers are tiny (located on the ball-like spadix inside the hooded spathe); whole flowering structure is 3-5 inches high
• Flower color: purplish-brown and green
• Flowering time: February to April
• Origin: native

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Symplocarpus foetidus
Symplocarpus foetidus
Symplocarpus foetidus

Last updated November 3, 2009. © 2005 Connecticut Botanical Society. All rights reserved.