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Symplocarpus foetidus

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Spadix (flowers) inside maroon spathe -Symplocarpus foetidus - Skunk Cabbage

More About Symplocarpus foetidus

  • Maroon spathe is open on one side to reveal green-yellow flowers (spadix)
  • Large, green leaves unfold as flowers fade
  • Foliage reaches its maximum size by early summer (60cm x 30cm)
  • Both leaves and flowers emit a skunk-like smell
  • Bloom Time: February to May

Interesting Notes:

Native to Ontario

  • Cabbage-like leaves, when bruised, have a skunk-like odour, hence its common name.
  • Flowers also emit a skunk odour that flies detect which helps with pollination.
  • A chemical process allows the flowers to heat up to 15 degrees Celsius to help melt through a late winter, snow cover.

Zone:

3

Height:

40-60 cm

Spread:

60 cm

Colour:

Purple

Skunk Cabbage Growing and Maintenance Tips

Plant in partial to full shade in a consistently moist or wet, mucky soil. May also be found in shallow standing waters, 2-5 cm in depth. Naturally found in wet, deciduous forests, swamps, or shady wetlands. In late summer leaves will wither away, especially if sufficient water is not provided. 

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Symplocarpus foetidus Characteristics

Partial Sun/Shade
Partial Sun/Shade
Full Shade
Full Shade
Native to Ontario
Native to Ontario
Fragrant
Fragrant
Bog or water garden
Bog or water garden

Soil Moisture

Moist to Wet Soils
Moist to Average

Growth Rate

Medium

Flowering Time

Early Spring

Foliage Color

Green

Landscape uses

Border/edging
Woodland/woods edge
Naturalizing