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American skunk cabbage

Invasive Species Information

What is American skunk cabbage - (Lysichiton americanus)?

HabitatTerrestrial. Needs wet areas.
Distribution in Ireland: Sparse distribution but locally abundant in some places.

StatusEstablished
Family name: Araceae.

Reproduction: Male and female (sometimes hermaphrodite) flowers can occur within the same distinctive inflorescence which consists of a spathe and spadix. Pollination is carried out by beetles in North America.

American Skunk Cabbage Biodiversity Medium Risk 15
American Skunk-Cabbage

Native to North America it was introduced to the Ireland by gardeners and now resides in boggy acid soils in wet woodlands, streamsides and pond margins. It is identified by a strong skunk-like smell, large yellow flowers and grows to 90cm height. It can be invasive but the impacts are currently unknown. 

How To Identify American skunk cabbage?

Colour: Large green leaf surrounds a yellow spathe within which is a green/yellow spadix (a spike of inflorescence).

Smell: As the name suggests, the plant emits a foul smelling odour when damaged/crushed or when dying back.

Size: Can grow up to 1.5 metre 

American skunk cabbage
American skunk cabbage ID Sheet
American skunk cabbage leaves
American skunk cabage spadix
American Skunk-Cabbage ID Guide
Flower
Spathe & Spadix
Leaves

Why Is American skunk cabbage A Problem?

Forms dense stands which can shade out native species.

Its preference for wet soils means that the seed can easily be dispersed via waterbodies.

European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 non-native invasive plant species A-Z (Updated 2017)

There are currently 35 invasive plant species listed in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations (annex 2, Part 1)...

 

Click on a species from the following list to find out more regarding non-native species subject to restrictions under Regulations 49 and 50

Additional Non-Native Plant Species identified as Medium Risk on Ireland's Biodiversity List...

Common name 

African woodsorrel

American skunk cabbage

Annual bur-sage

Antithamnionella ternifolia

Barberry

Black currant

Brazilian waterweed

Butterfly-bush

Canadian-fleabane

Clover broomrape

Creeping Bellflower

Dead man's fingers

Douglas fir

Early goldenrod

False acacia

Field penny-cress

Garden lupin

Giant rhubarb

Hairy rocket

Himalayan honeysuckle

Himalayan knotweed

Holm oak

Japanese barberry

Japanese honeysuckle

Japanese rose

Leafy spurge

Least duckweed

Narrow-leaved ragwort

New Zealand bur

Ostrich fern

Pampas grass

Pitcherplant

Red oak

Red sheath tunicate

Rock cotoneaster

Rum cherry

Russian-vine

Salmonberry

Sea-buckthorn

Sycamore

Three-cornered garlic

Traveler's-joy

Tree of heaven

Turkey oak

Virginia-creeper

Warty cabbage

Water fern

Wild parsnip

Environment 

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Marine

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Freshwater

Terrestrial 

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Terrestrial 

Marine 

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Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Freshwater 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial  

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Marine 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Freshwater 

Terrestrial

Risk score 

14

15

17

15

14

14

17

17

14

17

16

16

15

14

17

17

17

16

17

14

16

14

14

15

14

16

14

16

14

14

14

14

14

14

14

17

14

14

14

15

15

17

17

14

16

15

14

15