Is native to northeastern North America. This species is one of the first to bloom in the spring sometimes barely showing through the leaves or snow. It grows in damp places, often alongside (but not in) streams, mainly in the open, though sometimes under trees. The flowers are pollinated by flies and produce heat which would be a benefit to the flies early in the season when it is cold. The color of the spathe, the outer hood, varies from plant to plant. It can be red, purple, yellowish, greenish, or reddish brown with spots. Skunk cabbage is also an important food for black bears when they first emerge from hibernation. The leaves emerge after the flowers. While oohing over the range of flower (spathe) color, the lovely size and boldness of the foliage are both more obvious than the flowers and much longer lasting. This aroid does have very large round cabbage-like foliage that can stay in very good shape for a long growth period. The flowers are fairly small and fleeting in comparison. Seeing a patch in full growth is very impressive; like a nice architectural Hosta it has ‘presence’.
Sow the fresh, uncleaned (leave the gelatinous coating) seeds germinates in early spring sown in a mix of half coarse sand and half milled sphagnum moss (not peat). Pressed seeds firmly into the surface, watered once from the bottom (fungicide in the water optional) and left outside exposed to the cold fall weather. The gelatinous coating will disintegrate naturally and the seeds will germinate in the spring.