American Skunk Cabbage is native to North America. It is a member of the Araliaceae family. It was introduced as an ornamental plant and escaped and became established in the wild. It is not widely distributed across the country, but where it occurs it can be locally abundant. It is found growing in wet areas, ponds, bogs, marshes, and riverbanks. It is easily identified by its yellow flowers that are in a spathe, enclosed inside is a spadix.
American Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus)
Classified as a medium impact invasive species by the Irish National Biodiversity Centre. Third Schedule listed species under Regulations 49 & 50 in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.
- It is easily identified by its yellow flowers are in a spathe
- A spadix bears small flowers that produce seed that is enclosed within spathe
- The flowers are foul-smelling to attract flies and beetles.
- Plant grows on rhizomes
- Leaves are large, leathery, and oblong
- Flowers appear in April
- Similar in appearance to Lords and Ladies, Arum maculatum.
Male and female plants exist, as well as some plants being hermaphrodites. Tiny flowers are present on the spadix. Plants are pollinated primarily by beetles. As the plant matures the spadix falls to the ground and seeds germinate nearby.
- Large leaves and dense stands can out compete native plants.
- It can shade out native mosses and vascular plants.
- Mechanical: Plants can also be dug out and disposed of accordingly.
- Chemical: Chemical control is the recommended treatment for American Skunk Cabbage. This can be carried out by boring a hole down the centre of the plant using a 12.5mm bar and putting Biactive solution into the borehole at a rate of 1 Roundup Biactive / 10 water.
- Biological: Not sufficient testing of a biological control agent to control American Skunk Cabbage.
(National Biodiversity Data Centre, Ireland, American Skunk-cabbage (Lysichiton americanus), image, accessed 28 June 2022,