This is no normal cabbage, even though it is sometimes called the Yellow Cabbage. It more popular name is Skunk Cabbage and yes, this plant can smell. Found in bogs and in other shady damp places it normally gives off its smell only when brushed or disturbed.
There are some interesting aspects to this plant from the Arum Family such as its ability to create heat – that’s right it comes with its own inbuilt heater so that it can melt snow or protect its bud from late frosts. It has been reported that the temperature in the bud can reach 70 degrees even when freezing outside. Of course the heat also helps it to spread its smell, and boy do those bees, flies and beetles love that smell.
It is also a very long lived plant. We tend to think of trees as being long lived, but a Skunk Cabbage can outlast some of them and the oldest may be hundreds of years old. While they are not very edible (they contain a compound that creates a burning sensation) they have been used to relieve pain in several ways and a cough syrup was made from the roots.
Brought to you by Brian Bailey
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