Lysichiton camtschatcensis

Lysichiton contains only two species: the yellow-spathed Lysichiton americanus (and here and here), and today’s species, the creamy-white-spathed Lysichiton camtschatcensis.

This photograph was taken in mid-May this past year, when the late afternoon light was setting the leaves aglow. Unlike its North American cousin, white skunk cabbage or Asian skunk cabbage (or, perhaps white swamp lantern) is not consistently malodourous; some plants have even been reported as sweet-smelling. The cluster of plants in the David C. Lam Asian Garden have little scent compared to the other species that can be found in the BC Rainforest Garden. Despite this, they still manage to attract fly pollinators (myophily). If the fly in this photograph looks a bit fuzzy and distorted to you, it is actually perched on the opposite side of the leaf and only its shadow is evident.

Like Lysichiton americanus, Lysichiton camtschatcensis prefers wet habitats along streams, ponds, or high water-table soils. As well, it also grows in extensive colonies. This species is native to northern Japan and northeastern Russia.

For gardening information and additional photographs, see Missouri Botanical Garden’s factsheet on Lysichiton camtschatcensis.

Lysichiton camtschatcensis

7 responses to “Lysichiton camtschatcensis”

  1. Marilyn Brown

    Perfectly amazing shadow of a fly !

  2. Ann Kent HTM

    Lovely. This image feels three dimensional. More photos and write-ups about leaves, please.

  3. Waverly Fitzgerald

    Beautiful photograph. Love the sculptural quality.

  4. Joy Klein

    Gorgeous photo on a quiet Friday morning! It does look just like the relief sculptures on the old Roman buildings in Italy! Nice!

  5. beverley bowhay

    I would find it helpful if pronunciation followed the names of the plants, never hearing the pronunciation spoken. Just a thought for increasing my education! Enjoy all the beauty and bounty.

  6. Ron B

    All flower spikes of the native yellow species I have sampled have smelled fresh, like toothpaste – it is the damaged leaves that stink. It seems to me the colonies of it don’t really start to fulminate until summer, presumably because by then the oversize leaves have been fully expanded for awhile, had time to become repeatedly bent, broken or bruised.

  7. lynn wohlers

    This is a really nice photo. Another comment on the smell – I have experienced a heavy, sweet smell at times from Lysichiton americanus, in the spring. Once, at Mercer Slough in Bellevue, WA, surrounded by them in full flower, I began to feel positively drunk with the odor. I was getting close to photograph them and had spent a good hour among the blooms. A heady and not at all unpleasant experience!

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