Japanese Skunk Cabbage or Zen plant

In Japan this plant is known as the Zen plant because it looks like a hooded monk praying, at least that’s what I gather.

As its name suggests it is allegedly a smelly plant, although I couldn’t smell anything but I didn’t get too close.

But what is really interesting is it is one of only a few plants able to regulate its own temperature.  So even during the below zero temperatures in winter, with snow on the ground it is warm inside.
Essentially it uses this warmth to push its way to the surface earlier than the other plants, the purple flower coming to the surface first and the leaves following later.

It lives in wet marshy ground and where I found them today, there was still ice on the ground.  It uses its smell and additional warmth to attract insects so ensuring pollination.

There area a few areas around here with skunk cabbage colonies, mostly there are boardwalks over the marsh and so you can see them well and not end up with muddy feet.

This one is just outside Otawara, 15 minutes or so from where I live.  It took me a while to find it, because the location and website are in Japanese and I actually didn’t really know what I was looking for  – but at last!!




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