Photo credit: invasivespecies.scot
Size: Flowers can grow to 1.5m
Leaves are around 70cm long
Native to: North America, from southern Alaska to northern California
Introduced to the UK: In 1901 as an ornamental for pondsides, first recorded escaped in the wild in 1947 in Surrey
When To See
Flowers late March to May
Skunk-cabbage is a lowland perennial, although it can grow at altitudes of up to 1400m. It needs a wet site, such as wet woodlands, river and burn edges, and on the margins of muddy ponds. Typically found in rich fertile mud, it can grow in a wide range of soil types and pH levels.
How To Identify
It has a rosette of stemmed, leathery textured leaves that can reach up to 70cm long and have a similar appearance to cabbage. Yellow flowers are produced in spring, and have a strong odour like that which a skunk emits. These can grow up to 1.5m tall. It produces green berries in summer. Dense stands allow skunk-cabbage to out-compete native plants by depriving them of natural light.
How It’s Treated
By undertaking herbicide application by spraying and stem injection during the late summer months, usually July – October. The heads can be cut to prevent seeding, and then the stumps can be treated. The plant can be dug out by hand, but if the rhizomes are not also removed it is thought to be able to re-establish from rhizome fragments. Chemical control should always be carried out by a qualified individual.
Photo credit: Neil Theasby, Geograph Britain & Ireland
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