Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) blooms are an early sign that spring is on its way. The hooded flower structure actually generates heat and melts its way through the ice in shady wetlands. We have sometimes seen them blooming as early as late January.

Do not let the plant's name or reputation as a stink pot keep you from adding it to a shady damp site. Its foliage is bold and beautiful and doesn't release scent unless bruised. Since skunk cabbage sites are generally mucky, there's little foot traffic there and minimal stink.

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