Thursday, March 02, 2006

Signs of Spring?

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

I was in Todmorden Mills this week and spotted these starting to sprout out of the ground. Skunk Cabbage has got to be the first flower of spring because it starts to flower as early as February. It has the unusual ability of generating heat that allows it to push its way through layers of snow and ice. The purplish brown flower appears first (see picture). Later in the spring, large lettuce like leaves appear. It gets it name not from the flowers which are almost odourless but from the leaves. If you break or crush the leaves they emit a foul smell.

Skunk Cabbage likes wet areas and the back area of Todmorden Mills has the good fortune to have a few all weather springs. One of the secret gems of the Don.

While Environment Canada says that its going to be another 90 days of cool to cold weather, at least we know that spring has started its inevitable, albeit slow journey.

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