At least, I’m fairly certain it’s Western Skunk Cabbage*. It’s skunk cabbage, anyway. Lockwood and I saw bunches of it at Sunset Bay.
The reasons I’m treating you to a gallery of skunk cabbage are two-fold: I’ve been busy with a project all weekend, so I’m not prepared for writing up delicious geology. Also, Bug Girl posted this on Twitter:
And then Bora said,
And I suddenly found a use for ten billion photos of skunk cabbage. Look, I was excited. Normally, I see the stuff at the end of its life cycle, when it’s all manky. And it was about the only wild blooming thing we found. Now I come to find out there are people in the world who love skunk cabbage.
This little marshy area near the beach was skunk cabbage central. Despite the name, you’d not have known it was there if not for the bright yellow flowers – it wasn’t smelling up the place. Yet.
I like the way it pops up through the soil in those sweet little spirals.
And then this demure little fold, before the big spiky inflorescence thingy happens. The entry on skunk cabbage in my Cascade-Olympic Natural History book says Walt Whitman “named a book of suggestive poetry after a similar species, Calamus.” Somehow, one is not surprised.
Our variety of skunk cabbage uses bees and beetles for pollination, and matches its scent to the pollinators’ preferences: different temptations at different temperatures. Evolution is bloody clever, people.
Later in the season, apparently, these beauties will sprout maclargehuge leaves. I’ll have to look out for them. But, despite the fact the leaf bases and roots are edible, I don’t think I’ll be eating any. I’d prefer looking to lunching.
It’s quite pretty, and I’m glad I finally got to see it in its glory. I’m even more glad other people actually like it enough for me to post the photos.**
*I think we’ve established by now I’m teh suck at botany. So don’t take anything for granted.
**And if you like skunk cabbage enough to want a photo for yourself, please do feel free to download – Creative Commons with Attribution and all that. I should put an icon thingy up to let everyone know, as that subject’s come up a few times. You’re free to filch any photo unless it’s marked as belonging to someone else, and use for whatever purposes you like as long as you mention where you got it. Enjoy!