Green and Gold

Skunk Cabbage. Hard to have a worse name but this plant is pretty at this time of year. There’s a few of them at the edge of a pond at Maple Glen. Green leaves and, green and gold flowers. I didn’t notice a skunky smell but I’ve read it occurs when the leaves are bruised. For some of you, these would be native plants … what can you tell me about them e.g. are they a problem in any way? Do you like/not like them, and why?

Maple Glen Garden, Glenham, Southland, New Zealand. 06 Oct 2019.

Skunk Cabbage

Pond edge with a couple of clumps of skunk cabbage in flower. Liz


Two photos of skunk cabbage, first by Nigel and the second by Liz.



Pond view. The skunk cabbage are way down the far end. Liz


Beautiful pond view and reflections taken by Nigel.


Text by Liz, photos by Liz and Nigel; Exploring Colour (2019)

25 thoughts on “Green and Gold

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  1. Lovely pictures. I’ve never grown them but like to see them in UK gardens. They tend to be in inaccessible places, so I rarely get close enough to experience their ponginess.

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  2. We have skunk cabbage in New York, too, and it’s often visually attractive. When I was a kid, I did give one a kick, to see the the reputation for skunk-iness was true. Yes! Very true! But it doesn’t seem to have too much of an odor, unless disturbed.
    These are very nice shots, looks like a lovely garden park!

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    1. How interesting.. so it’s a case of look and don’t touch in order to avoid skunkiness. Maple Glen is an outstanding garden, developed by a family. Muriel told me she’s been there 55 years (no garden there when she arrived) and her son Rob is hugely expanding the garden with new areas of ponds and plantings.

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  3. I’ve heard the name, but I see I’d have to travel to the northeastern states to see Symplocarpus foetidus, if that’s its name. Given that you description is of a rather foetid odor, I’ll bet it is! The photos of it are lovely, though — regards to Nigel, too, for his lovely additions to the post!

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    1. No, that one has a purple flower. “Eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), which is purple, and Western skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus), which is yellow.” There’s also a white skunk cabbage called “Asian” or “White” skunk cabbage.


        1. I guess it’s unlikely they’d be in Texas gardens given that they need a wet environment. I wonder how far you’d have to travel to see some?


  4. I had to press ‘Like’ even before reading your post. Skunk cabbage brings fond memories of my childhood, roaming the damp woods on Vancouver Island. Even now, if driving by a sad roadkill skunk, others crinkle their noses and exclaim in dismay while I breath deeply and smile. I guess it’s an acquired fragrance….I can’t grow it where I live now, but in its place try to grow Fritillaria imperialis – it has a similar skunky smell!

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    1. Thanks for sharing here, Chris! I also have a photo of the yellow Fritillaria imperialis, seen on the same day.. had no idea it could be skunky too!


  5. It’s a while since I’ve seen those – they’re quite popular in Scottish gardens. Apparently it’s the flower that gets smelly, so that it can attract flies that are looking for rotten meat. (Yuck!) If it gets into the edges of natural waterways, it can be a real problem because it becomes very invasive there. (And I’ve decided not to plant any on the edge of the pond I’m making!!)

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