Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

Symplocarpus foetidus, commonly known as Skunk cabbage, polecat weed, meadow cabbage, or clump foot cabbage, is a low-growing plant that grows in moist hill slopes and humid areas of eastern North America.

Skunk Cabbage Flowers

Skunk cabbage is not a real cabbage but rather belongs to a primarily tropical family of plants in the Araceae (Arum) family. There are 3 species[1] of perennial plants in the Symplocarpus genus.

Clump Foot Cabbage

The name Skunk cabbage is derived from the pungent, skunk smell given off when part of the plant is damaged or broken and its large leaves that grow in a cabbage-like rosette.

Polecat Weed

The Skunk cabbage flowers emerge from the ground in early spring before the leaves appear. The “flowers” actually comprise a spadix and a spathe. The spathe envelops a spadix, a cylindrical structure that contains a bouquet of small clustered flowers.

Skunk Cabbage Flowers

The spathes of skunk cabbage are 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) tall and range from brown and yellow to solid brown, while spadices are 2-5 inches (5-10 cm) and can be dark purple or pure yellow.

Skunk Cabbage Yellow Flowers

The leaves are impressive in size, 15.75-21.5 inches (40-55 cm) long and 12-15.75 inches (30-40 cm) wide.

Suggested Reading: Flower Names and Pictures

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago (2024, April 13). Skunk Cabbage. Bio Explorer. "Skunk Cabbage" Bio Explorer, 13 April 2024, "Skunk Cabbage" Bio Explorer, April 13 2024.
Key References
  • [1]“Skunk Cabbage – The Nature Institute”. Accessed April 26, 2022. Link.


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