About Skunk Cabbage: The unusual odor of this plant, which the name indicates, attracts the insects necessary for pollination. It grows very well in marshy ground, and received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its ornamental qualities. The unusually large, waterproof leaves were commonly used by Native Americans for wrapping food or acting as a multipurpose kitchen tool. The leaves were usually not ingested, since the calcium oxalate in the plant causes an extremely unpleasant needle-like sensation in the mouth.
Skunk Cabbage Germination: Direct sow seeds in late fall, planting them just below the surface of the soil. Keep the soil moist. For spring planting, mix the seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 60 days before planting; keep the soil moist until germination, which usually occurs within 4-8 weeks. This seed can also be started indoors 6-8 weeks before planting in the spring; transplant the seedlings into individual pots and grow them indoors for their first winter to allow them to become established.
Growing Skunk Cabbage Seeds: Keep young plants well watered and watch for slugs, which can be harmful. This plant grows rather slowly and may take several years to reach its full growth. It thrives in very wet soil or shallow water, and in good growing conditions eventually spreads to form large colonies. If grown in the shade it may not produce flowers.
Harvesting Skunk Cabbage: These blossoms do not perform well as cut flowers, and are best enjoyed outdoors.
Saving Skunk Cabbage Seeds: After the flowers fade, this plant will produce a spike covered with green, berry-like fruits that each contain two seeds. Collect the berries as soon as the seed inside has ripened to a brown color. Keep in mind that skunk cabbage can be irritating to the skin; gloves may be necessary. Remove the seed and spread it out to dry. Store the clean seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Skunk Cabbage Info: Origin: US Native Wildflower Other Common Names: Western Skunk Cabbage, Yellow Skunk Cabbage, Swamp Lantern Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Spring Height: 24-36 inches Spacing: 36-48 inches Light: Partial/Full Sun Soil Moisture: Wet USDA Zone: 4a-8 Seeds Per Oz: 2,000 Produces a plant with long, broad green leaves and unusual bright yellow blooms.