Symplocarpus foetidus 

Skunk Cabbage

Names and Myths

Symplocarpus From the Greek words for connection and fruit, relating to the cluster of balls of red berries that appear in late summer.

foetidus Stinking or bad smelling

Natural history / Folklore

First flower of Spring, really of Winter. Provides a pollen source for bees before the early tree flowers open. The fetid odor attracts many carrion eating insects, as does the color of the flower. Slugs steal pollen and some species of spiders intercept the pollinators by building webs across the spathe.17 Roots had been used as a narcotic and emetic.19 Dried root hairs were used to treat tooth ache by the Indians.35


Large leaved, skunk like odor when crushed, flower hooded with a brown to greenish purple sheath.

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