Lysichiton americanus

Scientific name: Lysichiton americanus

Synonym: Lysichitum americanum


Common names: “Skunk cabbage” “yellow skunk cabbage” “American skunk cabbage” “western skunk cabbage”

Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial, marginal aquatic


Zone: 7

Light: Part shade, rarely flowers in dense shade, can take full sun with lots of moisture

Exposure: Sheltered

Soil: Fertile, humus-rich loam at pool margins

Moisture: Moist – wet, grows in swamps


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Plant Size: H 3-5′ W 2-3′

Leaf and Stem shape: Rich green, large oval leaves up to 3′

Flower: Unpleasantly-scented, bright yellow arum-like flowers in early springImage result for lysichiton americanus

Maintenance: Low – zero

Landscape use: Ponds, bog garden, wetland conservation area, native garden

Propagate: By seed and rhizome offset

Pests & Disease: Generally healthy

*Deer resistant

Comments: Native to BC and the Pacific Northwest,  considered an invasive species in some European countries, the large, waxy leaves were important for food preparation and storage but aren’t considered edible as they contain calcium oxalate crystals which can be fatal in large doses, used medicinally for burns, bears will eat the roots after hibernation as a laxative

Cultivars: Commonly confused for Symplocarpus foetidus – “Eastern skunk cabbage”

Lysichiton camptschatcensis – “Asian skunk cabbage” ~AGM winner, slightly smaller and doesn’t produce the same odor

Image result for lysichiton americanus


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