Skunk cabbage

Skunk cabbage

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Credit: ANGELINA LAX/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Skunk cabbage. Flowers of the skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), a type of lily, growing in spring snow. The mottled brown 'petals' are actually a specialised leaf called a spathe. This surrounds the true flowers, which grow on a spike (spadix, not seen) inside the spathe. It takes its common name from the pungent smell the flowers produce to attract pollinating insects. The skunk cabbage grows in wet areas in forests in northern North America. It contains poisonous chemicals which burn the throats and stomachs of herbivores. Photographed in April.

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Keywords: angiosperm, angiosperms, botany, flower, lily, monocot, monocots, monocotyledon, monocotyledons, nature, north american, plant, poisonous, skunk cabbage, snow, spathe, spring, symplocarpus foetidus, wild flowers

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