04.01.2023 Symplocarpus foetidus triad

Skunk cabbage’s flower, a spadix, is one of the earliest to be seen in Spring, seen here inside the foremost bud.  Actually the plant can be seen in mid-winter as it is thermogenic and produces heat which helps clear away the snow around it. Native Americans used it to treat a few maladies such as epilepsy and various bodily swellings. It’s an Araceae which is related to the Philodendron houseplant. Aside from having a bad smell it is also toxic and even a small amount can be seriously harmful.

Along this same path in Quabbin Park I once came across a  skunk cabbage plant acting as a maple nursery.



About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
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27 Responses to 04.01.2023 Symplocarpus foetidus triad

  1. I love the smell of skunk cabbage – reminds me of my childhood, roaming the forests of coastal B.C.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tina says:

    Beautiful–and dangerous. I’ve heard of skunk cabbage, but never have seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not that I am going to experiment but I believe I read somewhere that multiple boilings can make it somewhat palatable as with some Amanita mushrooms. I don’t forage and think that if it took that much trouble to make it borderline edible it isn’t worth the trouble.
      When it greens up there can be hundreds in one spot covering a damp shaded area with its broad leaves.


  3. Ann Mackay says:

    The markings on the buds are amazing! And I’m wondering if any of the maple seedlings will make it to being established trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is an old shot and I doubt that when I return I’d be able to find the exact spot and be sure of the tree. But it’s fun to imagine that at least one of those samaras survived and became a tree.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The markings on the plants look like they’ve been swirled, either in reality or digitally.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fine colour and detail. I didn’t realize they can be found in the winter as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. They have such a beautiful shape.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: 04.01.2023 Symplocarpus foetidus triad

  8. Wally Jones says:

    What a uniquely beautiful plant!

    This is one we don’t have in our area. Thank you for sharing it, even though I can’t smell it very well from here.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. shoreacres says:

    I’m giving myself a gold star for remembering that Jack-in-the-pulpit plants have a spadix, too. I love the shape of these, and the striations. Their ability to melt snow is really interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Todd Henson says:

    I think I’ve completely missed these this year so I’m glad to see some here. I love the variegated color. And that photo of the cabbage holding a little forest of maple is a great find, makes me smile. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The buds are most often variegated although some are all green as well. That maple nursery is one of my favorite shots. Not the greatest photographically but so cool. Thanks, Todid!


  11. bluebrightly says:

    The maple seedlings springing up in the Skunk cabbage leaf is an astounding find, Steve, lucky you! It speaks to nature’s stubborn will to grow. When you go out over and over again, as you do, you see amazing things. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You found a nice grouping to make a unique design!

    Liked by 1 person

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