Friday, April 3, 2009

Lysichiton camtschatcense, Asian Skunk Cabbage, is a lovely muck dweller

I came in to lunch today 15 minutes late and covered with mud; I had to actually lie down in the mud to get this picture. I tried squatting but was unable to hold the camera steady enough. Firmly planted in the muck there's no detectable camera shake in this exposure. My co-workers laughed at me, but that does happen... Symplocarpus foetidus, a relative of this white-flowered Asian species, is our Eastern Skunk Cabbage, one of my favorite plants. Hey, I love all plants and who could resist a winter-blooming warm-blooded plant?! Ours flowers much early than its Asian counterpart and actually does generate temperatures significantly warmer than the surrounding air.

There's just something about aroids. Both genera of Skunk Cabbage are allied (in an obscure subfamily) with another of my favorite plants, Golden Club, Orontium aquaticum. I don't remember first meeting Orontium, but seeing thousands of the yellow spadices rising out of the tannin black waters of the Okefenokee Swamp sunlit under an azure sky is an unforgettable sight.

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