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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



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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.