Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
In bloom March 1 - April 7.
This large leaf perennial herb is by far the earliest flowering
plant on campus. It flowers so early that most observers miss the
blossems. The leaves appear after flowering and resemble cabbage
leaves. Early summer leafy plants are 6-30 inches tall. In the
late winter the heat generated by the floral sheath is so intense
that it can melt a circle in the snow. The foul odor of these
flowers attracts early season flys and gnats and is the basis of
the common name. The leafy plant has no odor, but most folks
think it looks ugly. It is found in low places in the natural
area as well as in meadows and in my yard.
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