DENIZEN OF THE SWAMP
Seeks still water more than flowing,
Even damp spring woods will suffice!
Bizarre and quite unreal, gotta love it!
Before the frost has left the ground, skunk cabbage melts through ice and snow to get a heads-up, literally. The flower bud has elevated its temperature with respiration, 15-35 degrees C above ambient temperature. Even while blooming the hood allows heat to build up and “ripen” the skunky stink. Heated stink is more attractive, if that’s what turns you on!!
If you stick your finger in the hood it does feel warm. And if your nose is in this close the smell is definitely not sweet!
It’s fascinating wondering how such survival methods ever develop.
The struggle for early, scarce spring pollinators is daunting, but with the right “bait”, rewarding.
As the leaves emerge after flowering, I always marvel at the contrast of the coarse, huge leaves of skunk cabbage and the delicate finery of fernery. Being neighbors really enhances that contrast!
As a fan of ferns and not of stink, my heart leans to finery, but in my head skunk cabbage has a spot.