USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin

SKUNK CABBAGE

(Symplocarpus foetidus (L.) Nutt.)


Skunk cabbage

ARUM FAMILY (Araceae)

IND. STATUS: OBL

FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A low, coarse, perennial herb with a thick rhizome. The spathe is 8-15 cm. high, sessile, egg-shaped, and mottled with purple and green. The spadix is spherical or football-shaped with many densely-packed flowers. Basal leaves are huge (to 3-6 dm.), ovate and heart-shaped at the base, emerging after the spathe. In flower from March to May.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Skunk cabbage is found in wooded swamps and shrub swamps; especially in springy areas.

As the name implies, skunk cabbage has a strong skunk- or garlic-like odor. It is our earliest herbaceous "wildflower" to bloom in spring, sometimes emerging through snow.

SOURCE: Fernald (1970); Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Voss (1972).


Previous Section -- Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris L.)
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris L.)

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/plants/mnplant/syfo.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 06:33:13 EST
Reston, VA [vaww54]