Skunk Cabbage
Swamp Cabbage

By William T. Hathaway

Skunk Cabbage or Swamp Cabbage

Here they come again: those hooded denizens of soggy ground. They pop up, here and there, all over the place, especially north of the White Oak Mountain Range within Pittsylvania County. Any time from midwinter until early spring they appear, subject to the dictates of freezing weather. Skunk cabbages are known on occasion to melt their way up through ice and snow. This so-called melting is related to a phenomenal type of growth activity which generates heat. It is said that the odor of this plant is attractive to certain flies that buzzingly swish about during days of full sun.

The Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) has a specific name, foetidus, which means foul-smelling.

(Also see further information about the Skunk or Swamp Cabbage.)