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 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 produces very large leaves and fills the forest at Lambton Woods though there is no sign of it by November.
I found none this morning this year at Lambton Woods. Probably by next week.
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:
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)
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!