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.

Origin of skunk cabbage

An Americanism dating back to 1745–55

Words Nearby skunk cabbage Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use skunk cabbage in a sentence

  • That’s where friends and I tramped across streams and down overgrown trails, where the sweet smell of freshly cut grass gave way to the dankness of soil and skunk cabbage.

  • 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
  • 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
  • “I can pull out any skunk cabbage with my teeth,” said Deer.

  • The skunk cabbage raises his hooded head first in sheltered hollows.

    The Garden, You, and I | Mabel Osgood Wright

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

  • 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