Swamp Cabbage or Skunk Cabbage

By William T. Hathaway
Swamp Cabbage or Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

Some of details in the formation of this plant are so interesting that showing the floral structure should enlighten many of us. For instance, the actual male and female organs that make up the stamens and ovary are embedded on the surface of the spadix. This spadix is enclosed within the spathe which most of us might think is the true flower.

There are many muddy open areas and woodland swampy sites within Pittylvania County where these interesting winter/spring plants may be found. Of the many Skunk Cabbage locations, only a very few are south of the White Oak Mountain Range; these plants are located in cool areas with north-facing exposures, often in the shadow of a steep hill.

(Also see this photograph in larger format, and further information about the Skunk or Swamp Cabbage.)