A few days ago, small, bright yellow flowers began to emerge from the soggy edges of the creek that runs through our back garden. Today, the blossom is fully emerged, and smelling, not like a rose, but with the early spring aroma....eau de skunk! I have a memory of my young daughter standing on the back porch, taking a deep, deep breath, and exclaiming, "Smell that Skunk Cabbalge!" I asked, "You like the smell of skunk cabbage???" She replied, "No, but now I know that spring is coming!"
The name Swamp Lantern for this native plant is much more appealing to me, and I imagine to perspective guests at Meadowbrook, that Skunk Cabbage. It comes from the fact that a chemical emitted from the plant actually changes temperature during the day, depending on what pollinators are available at any given time. The strong aroma attracts the dung beetle when it's still too cold for bees and butterflies. To quote George Patterson, the Supreme Director of the Tofino Botanical Gardens "The color is flourescent in its intensity and garishness and can be seen from hundreds of meters away, with the same effect on insect pollinators as a vinyl red miniskirt has on male Homo sapiens. "
That means spring is springing, folks! The sap is rising! (Among other things!) Today, last day of winter, we had rain, cloud, hail, and then suddenly sun and a temperature of 10 degrees celcius! We can feel the excitement of new life all around us!
Wish you could share this with me!