My big brother and I ventured out into the woods to play in our old stomping grounds. It was like we were little kids all over again, playing in woods, finding dead things, finding new growth, and most of all, getting very muddy and enjoying every moment of it!
These are the skunk cabbages (Symplocarpus foetidus) that are out in full force along the creeks and forested wetlands on our property. Sure, they're a little smelly, but to us it's the smell of the death of winter! And really, they are something beautiful to behold.
Skunk cabbage was used by the Native American Indians to treat convulsions, whooping cough, toothache, and other conditions. The root is used as a poultice for wounds. Even modern physicians have used it for epileptic seizures and severe coughs. The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals which, if eaten raw, can burn your mouth and the roots are considered toxic raw. To remove these properties, the leaves and roots can be dried and reconstituted in soups and stews.