“As a child, I always knew it was springtime when I opened my bedroom window and caught the subtle, heartwarming aroma of the season’s first blossoms wafting across the swamplands of home. Yep, if the skunk cabbage was blooming, summer was just around the corner.”
If you were to ask me my favorite flower, I might tell you it is the Lysichiton americanus. But that would be far too pretentious. You know that whole “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” line? A Lysichiton americanus, by its other name, smells like… well, like its namesake.
“Skunk cabbage” didn’t get its name from any black-and-white striped color scheme. It’s named for its distinctive “skunky” odor. So am I joking that it’s my favorite flower? Nope.
Growing up in a “wetland” area (formerly known as a swamp), the smell of skunk cabbage was indeed a harbinger of spring, which meant warmer weather and maybe just a tad less rain. Or maybe it meant warmer rain and a tad less weather. I forget.
But the symbolism of the skunk cabbage doesn’t just stop at being a seasonal reminder. Despite its stinky name, the plant is quite beautiful. Large, lush green leaves, bright yellow flowers. It livens even the fustiest of swamplands. And it does so by rising regally out of its surrounding mud and mire.
Somehow I find that inspiring. More so than a hothouse rose or a pampered orchid. It is raw no-fuss nature at its best. Simple beauty despite its odoriferous moniker. To me it symbolizes dignity, poise – maybe even grace – while amidst the muck of worldly living.
So, come Mother’s Day or my birthday or any other day one might be compelled to send me a bouquet of flowers, let it be roses. Come on, you didn’t expect me to say skunk cabbage, did you? Symbolism only goes so far.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol