Science of spring: The flower with its own central heating system
Ottawa Citizen

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By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, April 15, 2017

As early spring is melting snow in the woods, there is one plant native to our region that pushes the schedule, melting snow before sunshine can do the job.

You will sometimes see it in low-lying, swampy areas: circles of bare earth forming in the remaining snow. And in the centre, you’ll see a tough, stubby plant pushing up like the tip of a missile, and at its centre a red, pointy spike. This is a flower.

It’s called the skunk cabbage, and you won’t ever mix it up with a delicate rose. But more on the smell in a moment.