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Lysichiton americanus


Lysichiton americanus

Lysichiton americanus (Araceae), swamp lantern, is a common wetland perennial native to northwestern North America.

Swamp lantern is hard to overlook, growing to more than a metre tall, with enormous, net-veined leaves and brilliant yellow spathes. The pungent, skunk-like odour attracts various insect pollinators and is responsible for its other common name, skunk cabbage. The tissues of Lysichyton contain raphides (calcium oxalate crystals), which, if ingested without first processing appropriately, cause severe irritation of the mouth and digestive tract. First Nations used swamp lantern to line berry baskets and steaming pits, and in times of famine, as a food source.