Symplocarpus foetidus
SKUNK CABBAGE
Family: Arum (Araceae)
Habitat: wet woods, marshes, streamsides
Flowering time: February to April
Origin: native
Latin: Symplocarpus is from the Greek symploce for "connection" and carpos for "fruit" referring to the connection of the ovaries into a compound fruit. foetidus from "foul smelling".

Skunk cabbage is one of the first plants to bloom in spring. Its flowers are often partly or wholly hidden beneath last year's fallen leaves. Like many other dark-colored flowers, skunk cabbage is pollinated mostly by flies. The flowers actually produce heat -- a benefit to the flies out in cold weather. The leaves emerge after the flowers. They smell unpleasant if they are crushed, hence the name "skunk cabbage."