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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Saturday - April 15, 2006

From: Woodbridge, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I am very curious about a bulb growing wild plant in our back yard. We have recently moved to the Woodbridge, VA area. There is a stream running trough our property. The plant looks almost like large cabbage leaves. It has a terrible smell to this plant. I was wondering if you could tell me if you know what this could be or where to look to find out. I don't know if maybe they may have flowers. I have never seen anything like this because I grew up in the south. Thank you if you can respond.

ANSWER:

I think what you have in your back yard is Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). Be sure to select "Images" from the menu at the top of the Skunk cabbage page to see more photos. You can also find more information and pictures from the Wisconsin Botanical Information System and the Connecticut Botanical Society.

 

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