|Skunk Cabbage flowers are capable of melting snow|
The flowers of Skunk Cabbage emerge directly from the ground before the plant's leaves appear. Their mottled purple and green color and a putrid smell attract carrion flies. These two factors as well as the flower's location directly on the ground also attract beetles. I have also seen honey bees pollinating these flowers.
|Skunk Cabbage flowers attract flies and beetles with their unpleasant odor|
Skunk Cabbage leaves emerge from the ground several weeks after the plant begins flowering. The leaves grow rabidly and eventually may be up to 3 feet long. When crushed, the large cabbage-like leaves have a distinctive "skunk" smell giving this species its common name.
|Skunk Cabbage leaves - the flowers can be seen at the base of each plant|
|Skunk Cabbage leaves can grow up to 3 feet long|
To find Skunk Cabbage look in swamps, floodplains, and other wet habitats. This species is found throughout the northeastern part of the United States and Canada. Mid-Michigan is near the geographic center of its range.
|Skunk Cabbage leaves carpet a swamp|
In the Fall, after the plant's leaves have died down, look for its large fruit. The fruit have a fleshy white interior surrounding several large dark seeds. The fruit is reportedly eaten by bears and possibly raccoons.
|Skunk Cabbage fruit|