skunk cabbage


: any of several early-blooming perennial herbs of the arum family that occur in shaded, wet to swampy areas and have a fetid odor suggestive of a skunk:
: one (Symplocarpus foetidus) of eastern North America and eastern Asia that has a hoodlike, brownish-purple spathe
: one (Lysichiton americanus synonym L. americanum) chiefly of the Pacific coast region of North America that has a large yellow spathe
: one (Lysichiton camtschatcensis synonym L. camtschatcense) of eastern Asia that has a large white spathe

Illustration of skunk cabbage

Illustration of skunk cabbage
  • skunk cabbage b

Examples of skunk cabbage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Other foliage, like the skunk cabbage native to the region, is already in full bloom. Dharna Noor,, 16 Feb. 2023 For decades, Disney and Florida politicians have had a symbiotic relationship — kind of like dung beetles and skunk cabbage. Orlando Sentinel Staff, Orlando Sentinel, 28 Dec. 2022 Natural foods such as acorns, skunk cabbage and grubs are abundant and bears’ reproductive success and the survivorship of cubs are both high. Jesse Leavenworth,, 25 Mar. 2022 The Fab Five feasted on plants gathered in season from the wild — skunk cabbage, saskatoon berries and dandelions — plus fish, moose and deer. New York Times, 23 July 2021 The sandy soil supports unique plants like skunk cabbage and cinnamon ferns. Susan Degrane,, 8 July 2021 But also hickory, chestnut, elms and birches, and joe-pye weed, aster, marsh marigold, skunk cabbage, snakeweed. Matthew Cicanese and Erika Reiter, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Apr. 2020 Calabrese highlights the pungent skunk cabbage, a plant that produces its own heat in an effort to attract early pollinators. cleveland, 27 Mar. 2020 Even the skunk cabbage, Druse says, has its allure. Washington Post, 4 Dec. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'skunk cabbage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1751, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of skunk cabbage was in 1751

Dictionary Entries Near skunk cabbage

Cite this Entry

“Skunk cabbage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

skunk cabbage

: either of two North American herbs that grow in wet areas, bloom in late winter or early spring, and have an odor like that of a skunk

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