Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A worldwide community photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Skunk Cabbage

Symplocarpus foetidus


The flowers of this plant emerge in early spring before the leaves. The entire plant generates heat through cyanide-free cellular respiration, which makes it one of the few plants capable of thermogenesis. The plants can produce temperatures of 15-35 degrees C! This allows them to grow through the frozen ground. The heat also helps spread the odor of their flowers to attract early spring pollinators. The flowers consist of two parts: a spathe and a spadix. The spathe, which is mottled maroon in color, is a modified leaf that looks like a hood. The spathe surrounds a spadix, which is a cylindrical structure that contains lots of tiny flowers packed together. The spadix can be yellow, pink, or purple.

See this spotting to see what the spadix looks like:


Growing in a small woodland swamp.


Skunk cabbage is not a true cabbage plant, but is a member of a mostly tropical family of plants, Araceae. It gets its name from the pungent skunk-like odor that is released when any part of the plant is broken or damaged, and from its huge, green leaves that grow in a rosette and look somewhat like a cabbage.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


maplemoth662 6 years ago

Your welcome, Christine....

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 6 years ago

Thanks Dawn :)

That is an awesome find!

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 6 years ago

Thanks maplemoth, I thought it was a really pretty setting. Although, odd to see grass growing in the woods where so little sun peaks through.

maplemoth662 6 years ago

Two, very pretty, and very interesting photos....

Christine Y.
Spotted by
Christine Y.

Connecticut, USA

Spotted on Mar 27, 2018
Submitted on Mar 28, 2018

Related Spottings

Skunk Cabbage eastern skunk cabbage Eastern Skunk Cabbage eastern skunk cabbage

Nearby Spottings

Wandplant Brown Centipede Abraded Camouflage Lichen Spotting
Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team