Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
- Family: Aroid (Araceae)
- Flowering: February-April.
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its large heart-shaped leaves and its very foul-smelling flowers which bloom as early as February.
- Habitat: Swamps, bogs.
- Habit: Perennial herb with thick rootstocks.
- Stems: Partly underground, leafless, smooth.
- Leaves: Basal, simple, ovate, more or less pointed at the tip, heart-shaped at the base, smooth, without teeth, up to 3 feet long and up to 1 foot broad; leaf stalks with deep grooves.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately on a thickened stalk (spadix) surrounded by a leaf-like spathe; the spathes up to 6 inches long, purple-brown to greenish yellow.
- Sepals: 4, small.
- Petals: Absent.
- Stamens: 4 or more.
- Pistils: Embedded in the spadix; style 4-sided.
- Fruits: Berries with seeds up to 1/2 inch long.
- Notes: This is one of the first herbs to flower.
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