Skunk-cabbage at Lambton Woods: Feb 17, 2022

In my experience, the first plant that appears in later winter is always Skunk-cabbage.

Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

We saw one shoot this morning.

Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

Here is what the Field Manual of Michigan Flora says about Skunk-cabbage:

Common in swamps, ravines and hollows in beech-maple forests, floodplains and bottomland, stream borders, etc.

The familiar flowering spadix with its strong odor and hooded spathe is the first wildflower of the spring, often blooming through the snow (and producing heat to melt snow and ice and presumably warm the interior for the pollinators comfort;

Photos from other walks:

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

I must congratulate the seven walkers who appeared this morning prepared for the iciest conditions that I have ever had in 16 years of leading TDSB walks.

Today’s group:

Thank-you to a walker for this:

photo by MP Fischer

Some birds:

Common Mergansers
Mourning Dove
Common Mergansers
Common Merganser (female)
Mallard (male)
Mourning Dove
Mallard (male)
House Sparrow )female)
Northern Cardinal (male)
Blue Jay
American Robin
Hairy Woodpecker (male)


On the wind in February
Snowflakes float still,
Half inclined to turn to rain,
Nipping, dripping, chill.                                       – Christina Rossetti (1830–94)         

Miles Hearn

3 thoughts on “Skunk-cabbage at Lambton Woods: Feb 17, 2022

  1. John Yates

    Skunk cabbage; reminds me of my early childhood in the mid ’50’s, it was very common in my Prince Rupert B.C. neighbourhood. Also, today’s Nature Poetry certainly seems appropriate for this early February evening!
    Thanks Miles
    Cheers J.

    1. Susan

      yes – agree with Lisa V. This was so exciting to see as I have not seen this yet. All around me the ground is covered with snow. I will look carefully for the skunk cabbage on Monday when I’m in a Toronto ravine with above 0 temperatures predicted. Thanks so much, Miles, and congrats to all the hardy and wise group fitted up with icers. Don’t leave home without ’em.


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