Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

One vendor has this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics

Unknown - Tell us

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

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

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


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:

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

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2 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive woodylover 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 tcfromky 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 shortcm 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 ariodlove 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 ladiebug On Apr 1, 2003, ladiebug wrote:

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


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

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