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AMERICAN SKUNK CABBAGE : Lysichiton americanus

Also called western skunk cabbage (US), yellow skunk cabbage (UK), American skunk-cabbage (Britain and Ireland) or swamp lantern. 

We must realise that what we now realise are problemmatic plants were generally collected from exotic locations around the world. Without that exhuberance of exploration and collecting, we would not have the extraordinary gardens that we can visit today. If we out it in perspective, it is just a few species have become problemmatic. The problem being that they tend to spread ruthlessly and oust our native plants. But no one realised it at the time they were planted here. 

What can be a fairly normal environment where they originated from tended to result in fairly average growth. Transport them to a new environment and some would find it too harsh. And some would thrive beyond all expectation.

Such is the case of the Amercian Skunk Cabbage.

We find this at Geilston Gardens, typically first planted here because it looked attractive and was exotic. index.asp?pageid=732312

In its native original environments it is usually found in swamps and wet woods, along streams and in other wet areas of the Pacific Northwest. 

The plant is called skunk cabbage because of the distinctive "skunky" odor that it emits when it blooms. This odor will permeate the area where the plant grows, and can be detected even in old, dried specimens. The distinctive odor attracts its pollinators, scavenging flies and beetles. [Wiki].

The large leaves and dense stands of the plant lead to it out-competing smaller plants due to its shading effect and can cause extensive damage locally to native flora including vascular plants and mosses. It can grow in shade or full-light and in a range of different soil conditions and thrives in disturbed environments. [Scottish Invasive Species Initiative]. 

While the growth of this plant at Geilston Gardens needs to be monitored, fortunately is is contained. These plants are restricted to the upper pond. They do not show signs of spreading up into the boggy area beyond the boundary and are limited by the wall and spill to the lower edge.This picture was taken in March 2024.

SCOTTISH INVASIVE SPECIES INITIATIVE : https://www.invasivespecies.scot/american-skunk-cabbage

WIKIPEDIA : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysichiton_americanus

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