I perceive Lysichiton americanus in much the same way as Caltha palustris: a shallow-depth aquatic with a yellow inflorescence and thick, tough foliage that appears in early spring before most other native plants. I also have a similar affection for it — love at first smell, if you will — ever since I first encountered it along the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk Trail in Mt. Revelstoke National Park many years ago.
Of course, there are obvious differences, such as the spadix and spathe inflorescence typical of the Araceae. The distribution of Lysichiton americanus is also more restricted, being confined to western North America.
And then there’s the smell.
While some of my colleagues prefer swamp lantern as a common name for this plant, the oft-used skunk cabbage is far more evocative. I don’t think there’s any way to deny the skunky fragrance which can tease the nose from quite some distance away. The cabbage reference is a bit harder to defend, as cabbages are in a wholly different plant family, though the tough, large foliage does resemble cabbage. Perhaps skunk swamp-lantern is an awkward compromise.