Daily Archives: March 15, 2020

Skunk Cabbage Season

It is the season when, deep in the Maple swamps of Southern Maine, the Skunk Cabbage, in all their twisted shapes and outrageous colors, emerge from the leaf litter. This is when Skunk Cabbage is at its most beautiful. This is the flower of the plant. The big green leaves will only appear later. The wikipedia article on Skunk Cabbage is full of all kinds of interesting information. Skunk Cabbage grows downward, with its stem under ground, and only the flower and leaves sticking up at the top of the stem each year. Even stranger, the Skunk Cabbage produces its own heat, 27 to 63 degrees above the ambient temperature, so that the flower can bloom in still frozen ground…in fact it can melt the ice around it. It is mildly poisonous to humans (its heat is generated by cyanide)…you would have to eat more than a little of the fresh leaves to kill you, but your mouth will burn and your throat close with even a few bites…though with the proper preparation it has been used both as food and medicine.

To me, the Skunk Cabbage is one of the first and most welcome sings of spring in southern Maine.

Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. HDR mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos…assembled in FrameMagic.