Saturday, November 26, 2011

Skunk Cabbage Buds

In my recent walks in the woods, I've noticed something that I'd never noticed before, at least not at this time of year:

Skunk Cabbage buds! I always think of these plants as a sign of spring, but as it turns out, the cone-shaped buds form in the fall and then overwinter under the snow, ready to unfurl into dark purple/brown flowers and bright green leaves when the weather starts getting warmer again. Who knew!

These stout buds make me think of some creature trying to claw its way out of the earth:

How cool to see such clear signs of growth, right when everything else seems to be dead or resting. I'll add that to the list of reasons (along with "generates its own heat") why Skunk Cabbages are such fun plants.


  1. Wow, I've never noticed this before either, but then we generally have at least a few inches of snow on the ground here by this time of year. I'll have to keep an eye out during this unseasonably mild season. I live in Delaware County, NY. Where in upstate NY did you grow up?
    -Catskill Bob

  2. Very cool! I'll have to look in the swampy sections of the Giant. On a hike last spring, someone mentioned that the Skunk Cabbage generates its own heat. We all had to check it out. Nature is amazing!

    The other incredible thing I learned last spring is that wood frogs generate their own anti-freeze to keep alive - their breeding season is so short.

    Happy hiking! There is ALWAYS something to see.

    If you like Sleeping Giant, follow 'him' on FB, if you like.

    Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Bob: I grew up in Allegany County, all the way out in the western part of the state. We got much more snow there, too, than we usually do here in southern Connecticut.

    hikeagiant2: I will go "like" the Giant on facebook now! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Thanks Elizabeth!!! :-) I thought you might like all the nature photography that Tom's been putting up! :-)