Beginning in late winter, the eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is first of our wildflowers to emerge from the cold snow covered ground. Through its rapid growth, its cellular respiration can melt the snow around it reaching up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit! The skunk cabbage gets its name from the smell emitted from the spathe (reddish brown thing generally after disruption or bruising. This smell is important as it attracts the flies that will then pollinate the spadix (round yellow ball that sits inside the spathe). By late spring, a tight roll of bright green leaves emerge from next to the spathe, slowly unraveling into huge green cabbage-like leaves that will blanket the wet and wooded area where it grows.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.