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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Skunk Cabbage - The Lamp Lights of Spring

Skunk Cabbage is in Bloom!
Western Skunk Cabbage 

Lysichiton americanus

in bloom along Mapes Creek
in the Kubota Garden Natural Area
ph credit - Michael Oxman
At Kubota Gardens it is just one of many beautiful sights.  Kubota Gardens is a historic Seattle Park,
which is also supported by a foundation.
Hydrangeas at Kubota Garden

Mapes Creek is located in Southeast Seattle, dropping off the ridge at the south end of Beacon Hill and flowing northeast thru the garden and into Lake Washington at Henderson Street.

In 1927 Fujitaro Kubota bought five acres of logged-off swampland in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle and began his garden. A 1907
emigrant from the Japanese Island of Shikoku, he established the
Kubota Gardening Company in 1923. Fujitaro was a man with a dream.
Entirely self-taught as a gardener, he wanted to display the beauty of the
Northwest in a Japanese manner and was soon designing and
installing gardens throughout the Seattle area. The gardens on the
Seattle University campus and the Japanese Garden at the
Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island are public examples of his work.
In May, they are having a plant sale on the 7th; the first ever Japanese Maple Festival on the 14th; and a work party on the 21st.
Skunk Cabbage in Paramount Park
ph cr - Janet Way

All over our area it is a beautiful indicator of spring, but also a key indicator species of a wetland area.  Wetlands are indicated officially by three factors,
according to the criteria of the Army Corps of Engineers;

• wetland plants, presence of water, and wetland soils.

Skunk Cabbage in Paramount Park Wetlands
4/10 ph cr - Janet Way
Wetlands are vital to our water quality and wildlife habitat. They retain huge amounts of groundwater and runoff in our watersheds. They are an important indicator of the health of our watersheds.
If you find a Skunk Cabbage in bloom, it a reason to be happy about something going right.

Paramount Park is a headwaters wetland area on Littles Creek, a tributary of Thornton Creek.


  1. Brugger's Bog is another park in Shoreline where skunk cabbage can be seen now.

  2. Great! Got any photos? Please send if you do.

    Bruggers Bog is another headwaters wetland for Ballinger Creek, part of Lyon Creek Watershed.

  3. Skunk cabbage is also known as 'swamp lantern'.

    The Latin name, "lysichiton", is actually Greek, and it means "loose undergarment".