Marginal aquatic plants grown for their brightly coloured musky flowers (spathes) and luxurious green leaves.
Botanical Name: Lysichiton (lis-e-ki-ton)
Common Names: Skunk cabbage
Foliage: Glossy, lance-shaped leaves, produced in a basal cluster.
Flowers: Small musky flowers, tightly packed on a thick fleshy stem called a spadix. This is surrounded by a white or yellow leaf-like bract called a spathe.
Flowering Period: Spring
Soil: Moist, poorly–drained loam. Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Plant in a east, west or south facing aspect.
Habit: Clump forming.
Type: Rhizomatous herbaceous perennial.
Origin: Western North America and eastern Asia.
Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.
Plant in spring, not autumn. Grow in sun or partial shade, in a rich humus rich soil that is kept moist at all times.
Ideal for growing around pond edges, streams and bog gardens.
As long as they are kept moist they require very little attention except for removal of decaying foliage in the autumn.
Slugs and snails are attracted to the young leaves and spathes.
Established clumps can be carefully divide in early spring.
Lysichiton camtschatcensis (Asian skunk cabbage) produces white arum-like spathes up to 10in (25cm) high in late April-May. Followed by lance-shaped leaves throughout summer. Height to 2ft (60cm). RHS Award of Garden Merit. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Lysichiton x hortensis (hybrid between L. americanus and L. camtschatcensis) is a herbaceous perennial with arum-like flowers, surrounded by a green-tipped spathe. Does not set seed. Height to 4ft (1.2m).
Lysichiton americanus (American skunk cabbage) is a highly invasive form with waxy, bright yellow spathes up to 1ft (30cm) high in April. Followed by large, lance-shaped leaves. Height 2ft (60cm). Note: L. americanus is officially listed as an invasive species and was banned from sale and propagation in UK in 2016. For further information see UK Government guidelines on Invasive Plants.