April 18, 2022
A cold, wet, windy spring has arrived in Clear Lake Township fostering the emergence of wildflowers. One of the first flowers to begin poking through the warming soil is Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). Skunk cabbage, named after the skunk-like odor the crushed leaves omit, has a remarkable ability to warm itself up to 70° F melting the surrounding snow and ice to get a head start on other wildflowers.
Skunk Cabbage emerging through ice in March at Lord Wetland Nature Preserve.
The leaves emerge first, followed quickly after by the maroon colored “hood” called a spathe. The spathe contains a spadix, which is spike of petal-less flowers.
Blooming skunk cabbage in early April at Lord Wetland Nature Preserve.
Insects are attracted to the spathe to pollinate the flowers inside. Skunk cabbage thrives in wetlands so grab your boots and head to Flora Husselman Trumbull Nature Preserve or Lord Wetland Nature Preserve to observe the emerging Skunk Cabbage.