Posted on March 10, 2020 by Diana BlakneyEarly March at the farm From Wikipedia: Lysichiton americanus, also called western skunk cabbage (US), yellow skunk cabbage (UK), American skunk-cabbage (Britain and Ireland) or swamp lantern, is a plant found in swamps and wet woods, along streams and in other wet areas of the Pacific Northwest, where it is one of the few native species in the arum family. The plant is called skunk cabbage because of the distinctive “skunky” odor that it emits when it blooms. This odor will permeate the area where the plant grows, and can be detected even in old, dried specimens. The distinctive odor attracts its pollinators, scavenging flies and beetles. Although similarly named and with a similar smell, the plant is easy to distinguish from the eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), another species in the arum family found in eastern North America.The plant grows from rhizomes that measure 30 cm or longer, and 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter. The short-stalked leaves are the largest of any native plant in the region, 30–150 cm long and 10–70 cm wide when mature. Its flowers are produced in a spadix contained within a 7–12 cm, large, bright yellow or yellowish green spathe atop a 30–50 cm stalk. The flowers are numerous and densely packed. It is among the first flowers to bloom in late winter or early spring. While some consider the plant to be a weed, its roots are food for bears, who eat it after hibernating as a laxative or cathartic. The plant was used by indigenous people as medicine for burns and injuries, and for food in times of famine, when almost all parts were eaten. The leaves have a somewhat spicy or peppery taste. Caution should be used in attempts to prepare western skunk cabbage for consumption, as it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which result in a prickling sensation on the tongue and throat and can result in intestinal irritation and even death if consumed in large quantities. Although the plant was not typically part of the diet under normal conditions, its large, waxy leaves were important to food preparation and storage. They were commonly used to line berry baskets and to wrap around whole salmon and other foods when baked under a fire. It is also used to cure sores and swelling. This patch is located just off of the lower field on the house side of Rock Creek. There is a ditch in the woods there, and the skunk cabbage was enjoying the accumulated water. There are many types of willow that are known as pussy willow. We seem to have a lot of them along the creek. Great beaver food! I’m not sure what this lovely shrub/bush is. Early ninebark maybe? Or not. Large wood placement caught a nice tree headed downstream. Bianca guards the perimeter as Sid and Bill load firewood onto the Ranger. Clipping blackberry vines away and out of the new fence. The posts on the slope down to the field are where Sid replanted the grapes. A great location! View of the new grape arbors from the hill. The swimmin hole is particularly beautiful right now.