Growing Guide
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Skunk Cabbage

Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Spring-Flowering Bulb, Wildflower

Also known as Swamp Lantern, Yellow Arum
Symplocarpus foetidus
Araceae Family

Because of its skunk-like odor, this native is best planted in boggy naturalistic areas away from the home. Blooms very early, often while snow is still on the ground, generating its own heat to melt the snow.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires damp soil
  • Tolerates poor drainage
Prefers damp, soggy soil.

Hardiness zones:

  • 4 to 9
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 2.5 feet

Spread: 1 to 2.5 feet

Bloom time:

  • early spring
  • winter

Blooms very early in the season, as early as late January in some areas.

Flower color:

  • red
  • yellow
  • green

Spathe is yellow and mottled with brownish red.

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: coarse

Leaves are large and heart-shaped.

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Bloom consists of a large, hooded spathe and a spadix that generate heat to melt snow.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • native to North America - Native to boggy areas in eastern North America
  • fragrant - Flowers and foliage have an odor resembling that of a skunk.
Special uses:
  • wildflowers
  • bog garden
  • naturalistic garden
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by division or separation - Divide offshoots and plant in the spring.

Maintenance and care:
Keep soil moist and boggy.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

More growing information: How to Grow Bulbs