Skunk Cabbages

Jane McGary
Sat, 14 Jul 2007 08:25:03 PDT
Mary Sue discussed and set up a wiki page for Lysichiton, the "skunk 
cabbage" genus native to the Pacific Rim region in both Asia and North America.

Lysichiton americanum, the yellow-flowered species, is native to my 
property in northwestern Oregon, growing in the bottom of a ravine with 
permanent springs. (Unhappily from my point of view, the native vegetation 
is so dominating that I can't even think of gardening there, however much 
visions of primulas may dance in my head.) The early spring flowers are 
indeed pretty, but you can smell them 100 meters away. When people have 
asked for a start of it, I hand them the shovel; dividing it is a demanding 
task. I don't recommend introducing it to the garden where it can't be 
confined, however attractive it is. Sorry, I have no photos -- how often we 
neglect to photograph the common plants native to our area!

I've read that L. camschatcense, the white-flowered species found on both 
sides of the North Pacific, is less aggressive, and indeed it seems to be. 
I have it in a small artificial bog in the garden, where it has grown well 
and flowered for some years and has produced a seedling, which surprised 
me. It isn't foul-smelling; presumably it has different pollinators.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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