Skunk cabbage, Lysichiton americanum




     Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska (3) 


Climate, elevation

     Moist, mild climate; Low to middle elevations (2)


Local occurrence (where, how common)

     Wooded wetlands, swamps, marshes, and wet meadows (1)


Habitat preferences

     Freshwater wetlands (1)


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

     Remains fairly small in exposed, high-light areas, but can grow to be quite large under canopy cover where light intensity is lower (3, 4)

     Can be found everywhere from seral, wet meadow habitats, or in late-successional forest wetlands; requires soil with high water holding capacity (1, 3)

     Can tolerate fluctuating water levels


Associated species

     Sedges (Carex spp.), small-fruited bulrush (Scirpus microcarpus), red alder (Alnus rubra), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), and lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) (1)


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

     Crowns (stems emerge from this central body that persists underground; this serves as a vegetative propagule that can be harvested)

     Seed (4)


Collection restrictions or guidelines

     Collect corms after plant has senesced for the season

     Collect seeds from spadix in early fall (4)


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

     Cold stratification (4)


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

     Best if planted immediately after collection


Recommended seed storage conditions

     Best if planted immediately after collection


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

     Establish crowns in containers, and divide to vegetatively propagate

     Plant seeds in containers mid-winter and keep in coldframe (4)

Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

     Organic soil with high water holding capacity (4)


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

     Established potted crowns

     Established potted seeds

     Direct seeding


Recommended planting density

     36-48 in. (90-120 cm) (4)


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

     Soil must be kept consistently moist, do not allow soil to dry out (4)


Sources cited

1.      Guard, B. Jennifer. Wetland Plants of Oregon and Washington. Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C. 1995.


2.      Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast-Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. B.C. Minisrty of Forest and Lone Pine Publishing. 1994.


3.      USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


4. Daves Garden, Inc. 2003.


Data compiled by:

Crystal Elliot, 4/15/03