Monday, April 4, 2011

Skunk Cabbage is "Warm Blooded"

Thanks to all the people who helped identify this fascinating plant, symplocarpus foetidus or skunk cabbage. Wikipedia says,
Skunk cabbage is notable for its ability to generate temperatures of up to 15-35°C above air temperature by cyanide resistant cellular respiration in order to melt its way through frozen ground,[2] placing it among a small group of plants exhibiting thermogenesis. Even though it flowers while there is still snow and ice on the ground it is successfully pollinated by early insects that also emerge at this time. Some studies suggest that beyond allowing the plant to grow in icy soil, the heat it produces may help to spread its odor in the air.[2] Carrion-feeding insects that are attracted by the scent may be doubly encouraged to enter the spathe because it is warmer than the surrounding air, fueling pollination.[3]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

cool! :)