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Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

In bloom March 1 - April 7. This large leaf perennial herb is by far the earliest flowering plant on campus. It flowers so early that most observers miss the blossems. The leaves appear after flowering and resemble cabbage leaves. Early summer leafy plants are 6-30 inches tall. In the late winter the heat generated by the floral sheath is so intense that it can melt a circle in the snow. The foul odor of these flowers attracts early season flys and gnats and is the basis of the common name. The leafy plant has no odor, but most folks think it looks ugly. It is found in low places in the natural area as well as in meadows and in my yard.

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