The leaves can be dried then powdered and used as a thickening agent. Older leaves have been used to wrap up food that was being baked. The leaves would impart a pleasant flavouring to the food. Young flower stalks - cooked. Only used when there was a shortage of other foods, the stalks must be thoroughly cooked or else they are poisonous. It is said that no more than three stalks should be consumed at one meal.Root - cooked. It must be thoroughly cooked or dried before use, otherwise it is poisonous. Rich in starch, a flour can be made from the dried and ground root. The root has a hot flavour, somewhat like ginger. The root is best harvested in the autumn.
Yellow skunk cabbage was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it mainly as a poultice to treat a variety of complaints. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. Caution is advised, especially if using the plant internally, see the notes above on toxicity. A poultice of roots has been applied to swellings, sores, boils, burns and rheumatic joints. A poultice of the heated blossoms has been applied to rheumatic joints. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to scrofulous sores, burns, cuts, swellings and chest pains. Heated leaves have been applied tot he body in order to draw out splinters and thorns. The leaves have also been used as a general tonic in a herbal sweat bath.The raw root has been chewed by women in order to secure an abortion. A decoction of the root has been drunk as a blood purifier.
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Hardy to at least -15°c. Young plants require protection from slugs. Plants are slow to establish at first, taking some years, but can then become naturalized and often self-sow. The flowers have an unpleasant aroma which is rather like a combination of skunk, carrion and garlic. This smell attracts flies and midges in great numbers to pollinate the flowers and so spiders tend to like making their webs in the plant so they can catch lots of food.Hybridizes with L. camtschatcense.
Problems, pests & diseases
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