Information on American Skunk-cabbage

Common Name: American Skunk-cabbage
Scientific Name: Lysichiton americanus
Irish Name: Geathar buí
Family Group: Araliaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
American Skunk-cabbage is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


A species of wet areas, American Skunk-cabbage was originally introduced from N. America and planted into ponds and water gardens, and it is now classed as ‘potentially invasive’ on the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s Invasive Species Database. It is a perennial member of the Arum or Araceae family and is occasionally naturalised in marshy areas and in streams. The yellow flowers are in a spathe which is 10-35cm long and this is enclosed in a greenish spadix (3.5-12cm). These flowers are foul-smelling and the skunk-like odour attracts insects such as beetles and flies. The plant is hairless and grows on rhizomes and has extremely large, ovate-oblong leaves (up to 1.35m long). The flowers of American Skunk-cabbage usually appear in April.    

I first saw this plant ‘in captivity’ in a Dublin pond and photographed it there in 2013. I expect to see it ‘in the wild’ eventually. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Skunk-cabbage, American
Skunk-cabbage, American