Late winter snow on early spring skunk cabbage

Your first stop is near a swampy place. Poking up through the snow (if there's any left) you're likely to see a most unusual plant. If you can get close enough, take a sniff. Whew! Does this plant stink? You've just encountered skunk cabbage, a plant that actually generates enough heat to melt the snow around it. The skunk cabbage blooms long before any other spring wildflower. It also looks very different from most other wildflowers. Instead of having petals, there is a single leaf-like looking sheath called a "spathe." It is hood-shaped and maroon streaked with greenish-yellow. (Can you find it in this picture?) The spathe protects the "spadix," which is a fleshy club-shaped spike. The spadix looks fuzzy because it is crowded with tiny flowers with no petals. Its bad odor attracts bees, flies, and gnats which pollinate it. Large leaves emerge later and grow to the size of rhubarb leaves. (Can you find them in the picture?)