Lysichiton camtschatcensis

Lysichiton camtschatcensis, common name Asian skunk-cabbage,[1] white skunk cabbage, Far Eastern swamp lantern or Japanese swamp lantern, is a plant found in swamps and wet woods, along streams and in other wet areas of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin and northern Japan. The common name "skunk cabbage" is used for the genus Lysichiton, which includes L. americanus, the western skunk cabbage, noted for its unpleasant smell. The Asian skunk cabbage is more variable: plants have been reported in different cases to smell disgusting, not at all, and sweet.[2] In Japanese it is known as mizubashō (lit. "water-banana") from a supposed similarity to the Japanese banana, a name with poetic rather than malodorous associations.[3] It is not closely related to the true cabbage.

Asian skunk cabbage
Lysichite blanc à Shiramine (Hakusan) - 08 - 2016-04-25.jpg
Lysichiton camtschatcensis in Japan
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Lysichiton
L. camtschatcensis
Binomial name
Lysichiton camtschatcensis
  • Lysichitum camtschatcense (L.) Schott, orth. var.


It is a robust herbaceous perennial growing to 75 cm (30 in) tall and wide, with strongly veined, glossy leaves 50–100 cm (20–40 in) long. In early spring each plant produces a fragrant, pointed white spathe up to 40 cm (16 in) long, surrounding a green spadix.[4]


Like its close relative, L. americanus, it is used as a marginal aquatic plant in gardens in Great Britain and Ireland. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[5][6]

Hybrids between L. camschatcensis and L. americanus, called Lysichiton × hortensis, are also cultivated. These have larger spathes than either of the parents.[2]

See alsoEdit

  • Western skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus ): A related plant (in the same genus) from North America, which is known for producing a foul smell
  • Eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), of the same subfamily, from North America, also known for its foul smell, and often confused with western skunk cabbage


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ a b Armitage, James D. & Phillips, Barry W. (2011), "A hybrid swamp lantern", The Plantsman, New Series, 10 (3): 155–157
  3. ^ As described for example in photo handbook Haru no hana (春の花, Flowers of spring) (in Japanese), Tokyo: Yama-kei Publishers, March 1995, ISBN 4-635-07011-5, p. 666
  4. ^ Brickell, Christopher, ed. (2008), RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants (3rd ed.), London: Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 978-1-4053-3296-5, p. 1136
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Lysichiton camtschatcensis". Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  6. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 62. Retrieved 25 March 2018.