Skunk Cabbage, a perennial herb that grows in swamps and other wet areas in North America and Asia. Tiny flowers occur on a structure called a spadix. The spadix is partially surrounded by a hood called a spathe. Large leaves develop after the spadix and spathe have formed. The plant gives off a foul odor, which draws insects that pollinate the flowers. As the plant grows, the buds generate their own heat, reaching a temperature as much as 27° F. (15° C.) warmer than the surrounding air.
The common skunk cabbage, which grows in eastern and central North America, has a knoblike spadix and a mottled, purplish-green spathe. Its leaves are one to three feet (30 to 90 cm) long. The yellow skunk cabbage, which grows in western North America, has a spikelike spadix and a yellow or cream-colored spathe. Its leaves are one to five feet (30 to 150 cm) long. (For picture,
The common skunk cabbage is Symplocarpus foetidus; the yellow skunk cabbage, Lysichitum americanum. Both are of the arum family, Araceae.