Is the Skunk-cabbage Out Yet? February 2021

I recently received an e-mail from a friend with that question. It is a good question because I found Skunk-cabbage on January 28 of last year.

Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

Skunk-cabbage is common in swamps and ravines in beech-maple forests and floodplains etc. Lambton Woods is perfect habitat. This unusual plant with its strong odour is the first wildflower of the spring, often blooming through the snow (and producing heat to melt snow and ice).

Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

Skunk-cabbage produces very large leaves and fills the forest at Lambton Woods though there is no sign of it by November.

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

I found none this morning this year at Lambton Woods. Probably by next week.

Other botany:

Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)
Miscanthus (Miscanthus sacchariflorus)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
Basswood (Tilia americana)
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Weeping Willow with Crown Galls

Park scenes:

With all of the ice, I was happy to have these:

The duck pond here which is usually so busy was frozen over today:

The ducks are all out on the semi-frozen river:

Duck tracks

Other birds:

Common Merganser (female)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Mourning Dove
House Sparrow (male)
Blue Jay
House Finches (male)


O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire
The streams than under ice. June could not hire
Her roses to forgo the strength they learn
In sleeping on thy breast.          – Helen Hunt Jackson (1830–85) 

Miles Hearn

1 thought on “Is the Skunk-cabbage Out Yet? February 2021

  1. Lisa Volkov

    You know I’m counting on you, Miles, to see things unfold which I can’t get to this time around. I hope you don’t mind my saying this, and of course, you are free to do whatever you like! Thanks, Miles!


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