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Skunk Cabbage


Well-Known Member
Not exactly a macro, although I used the Pentax SMC 100/4 Macro lens with the SD-14.

This is a very early Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) which is common in our wet woods and wetlands. This guy is about 5 inches tall, and the spathe and spadix are developing, along with the "rollout" of the leaves. These can sometimes grow into giants, with leaves as much as 4 feet long, and a total spread of 8-9 feet.

When I used to accompany my grandfather on plant-naming forays, we would warm our numb hands inside the spathe. The plant generates heat through chemical reactions, and actually melts the snow around the plant.

The Foveon sensor shows its true capability of being dimensional here, and the image will show best when you bring it up to maximum resolution. I am really excited about the ability to render true colors, and also love that I didn't have to do anything at all to this image, other than resize it. Now THAT'S the kind of workflow I like!


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Hi Laurence,
thanks for sharing this excelent and supereb picture.
The Skunk Cabbage (Stinktierkohl,it is in German) is barly known in Europe.
It is found on the British Islands,in Sweden and also reported in Germany.
In Germany it is kept under control because it effects the native flora due
to its huge leaves.
One Botanic Garden is doing researches on the effects.


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It's interesting, Uwe, that it seems that many people are put off by the odor of the plant. However, perhaps since I spent much of my boyhood wandering in the local wetlands and rain forest bogs, the odor gives me good feelings of an innocent past. Also, it helps me to find the sometimes elusive plant itself!

In the case of this area, the Skunk Cabbage actually harbors two major species under its leaves, so that they have adapted to the shade and acidic soil that is prevalent in these ecotones. Also, there are some exciting compounds being discovered with the Skunk Cabbages; not only the processes that create the quite amazing amount of heat generated, but also some alkaloid compounds that are unique in the world.