Lysichiton americanum
Araceae/Arum Famil

Skunk Cabbage grows in Southeast, Alaska and Kodiak Island. It is particular to wet places in the woods or open, swampy areas along the coast. The huge oblong leaves (2-4' long) can stand erect or be sprawling. A very early bloomer, the flowers often appear before the leaves and before the snow is gone. Numerous tiny flowers grow on an elongated, fleshy spike (spathe) that is partially enclosed by a bright yellow leaf/bract (spadix). The strong odor of the flowers attracts beetles, flies, gnats and bees that pollinate it. The fleshy roots are a spring food for bears and the leaves are consumed by deer. Crystals of calcium oxalate make the leaves inedible for people.

Plants flowers skunk cabbage meggan hayes Meggan Hayes

Photo credit: Megan Hayes


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