Skunk Cabbage, Skunk Weed, Polecat Cabbage, Stinking Poke, Fetid Hellebore
Symplocarpus foetidus

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Symplocarpus (sim-plo-KAR-pus) (Info)
Species: foetidus (FET-uh-dus) (Info)
Synonym:Dracontium foetidum

Category:

Perennials

Ponds and Aquatics

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Blue-Green

Aromatic

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)

Wilmington, Delaware

Brookeville, Maryland

Oakland, Maryland

Pikesville, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Chilmark, Massachusetts

Reading, Massachusetts

Belleville, Michigan

Tilton, New Hampshire

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Ithaca, New York

Chardon, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Tidioute, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Desoto, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

2
positives
2
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Positive

On May 8, 2012, woodylover from Provincetown, MA (Zone 7a) wrote:

striking native spring ephemeral, great aroid for that wet area. I'm surprised ladybug would post a negative concerning its herbal/medicinal properties. The foxgloves, monkshoods, and ilex had all better watch out!

Neutral

On Oct 7, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The name of this plant, when translated, means: Symplocarpus: from symploce for "connection" and carpos for "fruit", referring to connection of ovaries into compound fruit - foetidus: evil-smelling.

Neutral

On Aug 14, 2004, shortcm from Wilmington, DE (Zone 7b) wrote:

Sure isn't endangered here! It's all over our streambeds. One of the earliest signs of spring.

Positive

On Aug 12, 2004, ariodlove from Louisville, KY wrote:

The spadix inside of the skunk cabbage flower structure will heat up to 70 degrees F to attract bugs. Grows in bogs and wetlands in the wild.

Negative

On Apr 1, 2003, ladiebug wrote:

Go to http://www.herbaltransitions for overdose info. Causes intestinal disorder and miscarriage.