Skunk Cabbage

I glanced out the window today, enjoying the view of no snow on the banks of the stream (though it’s snowing pretty hard right now, so perhaps that will change by tomorrow), and noticed a small, dark reddish shape. A skunk cabbage blossom– one of my favorite signs of spring! I grabbed my sketchbook and headed out in the rain, that promptly began mixing with snow, and quickly sketched a few blossoms.

The flower, made up of a spathe (large bract that forms a sheath) that surrounds a spadix (a spike-like fleshy stem that has small flowers along its length) comes up early in the spring, often while there’s still snow on the ground. It produces heat (up to 35 degrees above air temp) and melts its way through the frozen earth and melts the snow around it. I guess that means I can expect to see reddish or yellowish greenish flowers protruding through the snow tomorrow morning, reminding me that spring is here in one of its earliest forms.

Click on the image to see it large enough to read.

 

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