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

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Wednesday - May 02, 2012

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

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