En Español

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 02, 2012

From: Amsterdam, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Skunk cabbage from Amsterdam NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Will skunk cabbage grow under a mobile home and cause odor?


We found a Mr. Smarty Plants previous answer on Symplocarpus foetidus (Skunk cabbage). Follow the plant link to the webpage in our Native Plant Database to learn more about it. In answer to your question, since this plant likes shade and moist soil, it would most certainly grow well under a trailer. If there are plants in the area that could spread under there, they probably would. Note from the webpage:

"Its strong fetid odor, especially when the plant is bruised, resembles decaying flesh and lures insects that pollinate it."

The insects that pollinate it are flies, and I'm sure you don't want to attract flies to your area. From the various sources, you will understand that digging it out to remove it is difficult to impossible, and you will release that odor as you try it. The best way to prevent it from moving under the trailer is to prevent any plants in the area from seeding. If you don't already have plants in the area, you likely won't get any under the trailer, as it requires a "peaty" soil, which you may not have.


From the Image Gallery

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Native plants for gravesite in North Central Massachusetts
May 18, 2008 - I live in North Central Mass. Would like to plant something on my parents gravesite that would not be invasive or require a lot of care. Any suggestions? I just took 2 shrubs out that had become way...
view the full question and answer

February 17, 2015 - This question may have more to do with chemistry than botany but I thought I would start here. My sister recently discovered that behind her Chili pequin plants, the brick was being dissolved leaving ...
view the full question and answer

New York City Native Perennials for a Long Growing Season
May 31, 2013 - Which native New York City perennials would be best for the longest growing season?
view the full question and answer

Slope Erosion control for Fairview NC
August 19, 2012 - Please recommend plants to help with soil erosion on a slope. The soil is red clay and area gets full sun. The slope is approximately 12' x 12'. I live in Fairview, NC
view the full question and answer

Planting instructions for horsetail
March 10, 2009 - Re: Equisetum hyemale L. Canuela, Horsetail, Scouring rush, Scouringrush horsetail I bought a 1-gal Equisetum hyemale for my seep/pond. In searching the web, I find conflicting planting instructions...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center