14
Mar
06

Skunk Cabbage Sprouting by the Fen March 12 2006

  Skunk Cabbage Sprouting by the Fen March 12 2006 Here’s the first sping wildflower at camp – the skunk cabbage.  It can be found almost anywhere at camp where the soil is constantly damp.  It’s an wetland “obilgate” species which means that if you see skunk cabbage that area has a 99% chance of being a wetland.

Smelly

Skunk cabbage is a smelly wetland plant. It mimics the smell(cadaverine & skatole) and visuals (red color) of rotten meat. It’s not surprising that its main pollinators are flies.

Hot

Temperatures inside the cone shaped spathes can reach 70 degree F. even on a day that’s near freezing. Skunk cabbage can melt its way right through the snow. Insects on a cold day get inside the plant to get warm.

And Old

Amazingly, under the right conditions, the roots of a skunk cabbage can live to be more than 200 years old.

Resources

For more on skunk cabbage check out The Nature Institute website.

Also, I just purchased a wonderful book about wildflowers called, “The Secrets of Wildflowers: A Delightul Feast of Little-Know Facts, Foklore, and History” by Jack Sanders. Wonderful photographs and great information. I highly recommend the book.

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