Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: American Skunk Cabbage, Yellow Skunk Cabbage
Lysichiton americanus

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lysichiton (ly-sih-KY-ton) (Info)
Species: americanus (a-mer-ih-KAY-nus) (Info)

Synonym:Lysichitum americanum

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Evert
Thumbnail #1 of Lysichiton americanus by Evert

By Evert
Thumbnail #2 of Lysichiton americanus by Evert

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral melody On Feb 12, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

The common name refers to the skunk-like odor of the sap and the fetid aroma of the flowers, which draws flies as pollinators.

The sap was once used as treatment for ringworm, the short, fleshy underground stem is eaten by animals. Baked, it supplimented the winter diets of the Native Americans.

Neutral Weezingreens On Nov 1, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Lysichiton americanum, aka Skunk Cabbage, or Swamp Cabbage, is native to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The botanical names is roughly translated to "Loose Tunic" refering to the bright yellow spathe (petal-like bract) around the spadex (flower spike). Skunk cabbage emerges from swampy areas in early spring, and as the season progresses, the net-veined leaves can reach to 5 ft in length, bearing a swampy odor. This plant is a tasty treat for bears. It can be introduced to the garden in wet ground by division or seed.


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

, British Columbia
Crescent City, California
Eureka, California
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Highland Mills, New York
Salem, Oregon
Artondale, Washington
Bainbridge Island, Washington
North Sultan, Washington

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