skunk cabbage

skunk cabbage


: a North American plant that grows in wet, shady areas and that produces a strong odor

Full Definition of SKUNK CABBAGE

:  either of two North American perennial herbs of the arum family that occur in shaded wet to swampy areas and have a fetid odor suggestive of a skunk:
a :  one (Symplocarpus foetidus) of eastern North America that sends up in spring a cowl-shaped brownish-purple spathe
b :  one (Lysichiton americanus) chiefly of the Pacific coast region that has a large yellow spathe

Illustration of SKUNK CABBAGE

First Known Use of SKUNK CABBAGE


skunk cabbage

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of three species of plants that grow in temperate bogs and meadows, emitting unpleasant odours as they grow. The eastern North American skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus, of the arum family) has large fleshy leaves, purple-brown spathes, and a skunklike odour. The western, or yellow, skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanum), also an arum, bears a large yellow spathe and is found from California to Alaska and eastward to Montana. The third species, Veratrum californicum, is the poisonous corn lily, or false hellebore, of the lily family, which grows from New Mexico and Baja California northward to Washington State.


Next Word in the Dictionary: skunk currant
Previous Word in the Dictionary: skunkbush
All Words Near: skunk cabbage

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up skunk cabbage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).