I went to the swamp to see if the Skunk Cabbage was up. I was looking for those big green leaves that remind me of Hostas and at first didn’t see any. I didn’t know when I started my walk in the woods that the flowers come up before the leaves.
The first leaves I saw were pulled tight around the rest of the plant, like a buttoned-up overcoat on a cold winter day.
Then I noticed the flowers, lower to the ground, blending into the soggy leaves that mulched them. The flowers warm the earth around them. They can heat up to 70degrees and even melt snow and frozen ground.
Skunk Cabbage smells bad when the leaves are broken. Which is why they are called Skunk Cabbage. The smell, which mimics rotten meat, attracts flies, butterflies, bees and beetles who pollinate them.
I didn’t think that animals ate Skunk Cabbage because of the smell. But it’s actually because it causes a burning sensation when eaten. So I was surprised to see that one of the flowers had been chewed on. But I learned on the National Wildlife Federation website that bears will eat the young plants.
I’ve seen bear scat in the woods and once a bear. But now I have another clue to look for to see if a bear has been in the woods where I walk.