Skunk Cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus (Linnaeus) Salisbury ex NuttallSynonyms: Polecat-weed.

Status:

For many East Coast nature-lovers, Skunk Cabbage is a favorite harbinger of spring. It's always surprising how early it arrives, often emerging in damp wooded areas even while surrounded by standing snow. Skunk Cabbage can do this because it is part of a small group of plants that literally raise their temperature higher than the surrounding air! The process is called thermogenesis, and it involves mitochondria generating heat as part of cellular respiration. The heat allows the plants to burst forth from still-frozen ground. It assists in the transmission of the plants' namesake fetid aroma, which attracts a suite of early emerging pollinators. The warmth itself then entices visitors to linger and to visit other Skunk Cabbage plants, further increasing the rate of pollination.

There are 292 records in the project database.

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Skunk Cabbage blooming in Howard Co., Maryland (3/20/2014). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Washington Co., Maryland (4/2005). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Howard Co., Maryland (4/13/2006). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage growing in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (12/12/2015). Photo by Tyler Bell. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (3/3/2013). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Talbot Co., Maryland (2/8/2014). Photo by Jared Satchell. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage blooming in Howard Co., Maryland (3/23/2016). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/11/2017). Photo by Bill Hill. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage (spathe with flowers) in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/22/2016). Photo by Robert Ferraro. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/24/2015). Photo by Elizabeth Miller. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Talbot Co., Maryland (3/19/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage growing in Harford Co., Maryland (3/28/2017). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage growing in Kent Co., Maryland (4/1/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Kent Co., Maryland (4/11/2014). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage growing in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/20/2015). Photo by Elizabeth Miller. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage found blooming in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/3/2010). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage inflorescence in Howard Co., Maryland (2/3/2017). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage blooming in Colesville, Montgomery County, Maryland (3/3/2012). Photo by Janice Browne. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage, newly emerged flower bud, in Montgomery Co., Maryland (12/13/2015). Photo by Jane Hill. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Dorchester Co., Maryland (3/23/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage growing in Caroline Co., Maryland (4/1/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage growing in Washington Co., Maryland (4/16/2016). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage growing in Kent Co., Maryland (4/4/2016). Photo by Dan Small. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage at Chino Farms in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (3/20/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/13/2014). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage emerging mid-winter in Charles Co., Maryland (1/16/2017). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/29/2017). Photo by Robert Ferraro. (MBP list)

Skunk Cabbage in Baltimore Co., Maryland (3/9/2013). Photo by Dominique Bayne. (MBP list)


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