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Skunk Cabbage Flower Plant

Symplocarpus Foetidus

If you are looking to for Skunk Cabbage, chances are you will not find it in the home garden. We do not know of any seed companies that carry the seed or rhizomes.

You will find Skunk Cabbage growing in woodlands, wetlands, and near streams. They are native of North America, from California to Alaska and east to Montana.

Plant Description:

Skunk cabbage is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. The three inch flower stem produces brown flowers, and will grow right through the receding snow in the spring. Flowers produce berry-like fruit.

What is most memorable about an encounter with Skunk Cabbage, is it's strong, offensive odor, resembling rotting meat. While humans do not like the smell, bee and fly pollinators are attracted to the foul odor.

Plant Height: Early spring blooms grow 3". The plant grows up to 3 feet, with individual leaves  that can grow to one foot across.

The leaves of Skunk Cabbage are edible, ONLY if dried first. It is important to be able distinguish Skunk Cabbage varieties, as one variety is poisonous.

Other Names:

Skunk Cabbage is also called :

  • Devils' Tobacco

  • Bear's Leaf

  • Bears Roots

  • Corn Lilly, a poisonous variety.

Plant Propagation:

Skunk Cabbage is grown from seeds. It is also propagated by digging up rhizomes of established plants and replanting them.

Medicinal Uses:

In the 1800's a drug called "Dracontinium", made from skunk cabbage, was used to treat a variety of ailments.

The rhizomes of skunk cabbage have been used for a variety ailments, including:

  • Antispasmodic

  • asthma

  • coughs

  • headaches


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