Lysichiton americanus (Skunk Cabbage,
An unusual and beautiful perennial arum.
Large, oval leaves are a vibrant green and can reach 1-4 long and 2 wide.
A bright yellow "flower" in March is really a spathe consisting of many tiny flowers sheltered by a large, yellow bract.
From the flowers comes a smell reminiscent of skunk spray, but so mild in comparison to the real thing! The plant actually utilizes its scent to attract pollinating insects.
Skunk Cabbage likes boggy, wet conditions, so much so in fact that adventurers learn to steer clear of it, lest they lose their boots in the peat muck.
Although the plant can be irritating (even toxic) Native groups did use the flat leaves to line baskets and pits for steaming food.
Found from Alaska to California and inland to Montana, Skunk Cabbage is hardy between USDA 4-7.
Photo at right taken by Tanamam. The plant
was in a marshy area along the
Stillaquamish River just east of Granite Falls, Washington.