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Skunk Cabbage- Native Pollinator Plant Series #1


First up in our #nativepollinatorplant series is eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus).
Look out for skunk cabbage next time you’re on a walk by the water or in damp wooded areas. #Skunkcabbage gets it’s name from its pungent odor that can smell like garlic or even rotting meat. It blooms from February through April and early female flowers are able to produce their own heat (50-70°F) that can even melt snow around the outer hood-like leaf! This creates a warm space inside the leaf serving as shelter for #pollinators and other insects on chilly spring days. The flowers then turn male and begin producing #pollen!

Honey bees collect the beige/yellow pollen that falls to the base of the plant. Skunk cabbage is not a significant #nectar source but it is an important early spring pollen source that is crucial to increasing brood production and building colony strength. We’ve seen our girls packing in skunk cabbage pollen over the last few weeks!

This spring/summer, we’re going to be highlighting some of the native plants that us, our honeybees, and many native pollinators love! We want to share the appreciation we have for these plants from a beekeeper perspective, promote the importance of native plants and pollinators, give a brief view into the phenology of South Jersey, and hopefully make you notice when you see these amazing plants in your backyard!

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