Cabbage Patch

Cabbage Patch

Here lies the skunk cabbage in all it’s splendour.

In the deep dark of the woods after a drab winter of deforested trees and dead undergrowth, these unassuming plants rise out of the swamps.

As you walk a trail muddied from a spring storm a pungent odour reaches the nostrils.

First thought… a skunk.

But no, there are no skunks on Vancouver Island.

And a memory flashes back from yesteryear of a similar smell and excitement fills the air as around the next bend is a colour that lights up the dark places.

The skunk cabbage is one of the very few plants that can actually produce its own heat and has been know to warm up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melting the snow or frost around the bud it can literally flower when the ground is still frozen.

And the colour!

Artists have been trying to obtain the exquisite palette of the bloom but it’s hard to capture the glow in the dark quality of the plant.

The yellowish-green is a stark contrast to the browns of the forest floor and my day is illuminated with its brilliance.

I would like to stay and bask in its beauty, but the Eau de skunk is prevalent and I quickly leave the swamp to be swallowed up again by the trees.


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