• synonyms

skunk cabbage

  1. a low, fetid, broad-leaved North American plant, Symplocarpus foetidus, of the arum family, having a brownish-purple and green mottled spathe surrounding a stout spadix, growing in moist ground.
  2. a related plant, Lysichiton americanum, of western North America, having a cluster of green leaves and a spike of flowers surrounded by a yellow spathe.
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Origin of skunk cabbage

An Americanism dating back to 1745–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for skunk cabbage

Historical Examples of skunk cabbage

  • The flowers are often fragrant, but the plant has a disagreeable smell, something like Skunk-cabbage, when crushed.

    Field Book of Western Wild Flowers

    Margaret Armstrong

  • From the smooth sumac they reap a harvest in midsummer, and in March they get a good grist of pollen from the skunk-cabbage.

    A Year in the Fields

    John Burroughs

  • The funniest thing I ever saw for sale was a basket of skunk-cabbage flowers on Broadway.

  • This plant belongs to the same family as the skunk-cabbage of the East and the calla-lily.

  • Off in the ferns there beat a warning tattoo—the loud whir of the snake's tail against a skunk-cabbage leaf.

    Roof and Meadow

    Dallas Lore Sharp

British Dictionary definitions for skunk cabbage

skunk cabbage

  1. a low-growing fetid aroid swamp plant, Symplocarpus foetidus of E North America, having broad leaves and minute flowers enclosed in a mottled greenish or purple spathe
  2. a similar aroid plant, Lysichitum americanum, of the W coast of North America and N Asia
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Turkish name (1392–1913): skunkweed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012