Lysichiton americanus

skunk cabbage

Habit: stout perennial growing from rhizomes, with large fleshy tropical leaves and winged petioles. The spike inflorescence consists of yellowish-green flowers tightly clustered on a fleshy spadix (stem), which is subtended by a yellow to cream colored leafy bract. Flowers give off a strong aroma of skunk. Berry like fruits ripen from green to red. Blooms early spring, between March and May.

Ecology: found in wet meadows, swamps, and along streams from sea level to 4200 ft (1300 m) along the Pacific Coast from Alaska through California, and inland to Wyoming and Montana.

Growing Conditions: full to partial shade, in moist to wet soil.  Grows in areas where most won’t without any drainage.

Flies and beetles attracted by the distinctive odor of skunk, when Lysichiton americanus flowers, pollinate the plant.  This is a thermogenic plant meaning that the blooming stem produces enough heat to melt surrounding snow.


Herbaceous Perennial
1-2 ft (30-60 cm)
1-2 ft (30-60 cm)
USDA Zones:

Native Habitat

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