As the forecast keeps warning about the snowstorm en route, I can't help thinking about the most interesting wildflower who is probably laughing at the thought of being covered in snow. "Haha," it says, "I shall use my unique ability to cut through whatever snow and ice may come!" Because, you know, plants laugh at our silly human worries.
At any rate, if you're not familiar with this unique plant, read on, it's one to know!
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Beginning in late winter, the skunk cabbage is the first life to emerge from the cold snow covered ground. Through its rapid growth, its cellular respiration actually melts the snow around it reaching up to 60 degrees fahrenheit! The skunk cabbage gets its name from the smell emitted from the spathe generally after disruption or bruising. This smell is important as it attracts the flies that will then pollinate the spadix. 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 in which it lies.
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.