A peek inside a skunk cabbage flower. Another view of a skunk cabbage plant. Notice the two flowers on the left and right of the plants. Skunk Cabbage - Symplocarpus foetidus
A peek inside a skunk cabbage flower.
Another view of a skunk cabbage plant. Notice the two flowers on the left and right of the plants.
Skunk Cabbage - Symplocarpus foetidus
This plant is found in wetlands. Yes, the place where I took my pictures is pretty wet. It’s an area behind the high school where I work. There is a small stream that runs to the nearby river. It runs right into a swamp filled with cat-tails. There are numerous skunk cabbage plants are popped up all over the place. It’s not something that I would choose to eat. To be honest unless, I was really hungry I would avoid this plant. Somehow the idea of eating anything that is this strong smelling kind of makes me want to walk away. I’ve also not benefited from it’s supposed medically benefits. With that, I guess I should put out some information on this plant. It is one of the plants to flower in this area. The flowers internal temperatures are significantly warmer than the outside temperatures. The smell that these plants produce is a deterrent to would be consumers.
The root is edible after a very long cooking time. The root can be dried, pounded, and then used to make flour. The young shoots are edible but you have to boil them and take them through numerous changes of water. They can also be dried and used at a later date.
This plant is also used as an expectorant, antispasmodic, and as an diuretic. This plant is an emetic and is a little narcotic.
Eating this plant raw will lead to an intense burning sensation in the mouth which is caused by calcium oxalate crystals. It also is known to cause gastrointestinal burning and inflammation.
This plant can be confused with False Hellbore when young. False Hellbore lacks the pungent odor of the skunk cabbage. I’ll try and find a picture of the False Hellbore.