Plants that you have seen for years have hidden talents for us to discover! Some plants have learned how to coax insects to perform work vital to the plants’ survival. Some have unexpected ways of growing or reproducing. Other plants have been medicines in earlier times – and some may promise to be the medicines of our future. Plant Watch takes you into Marblehead’s Conservation Areas to look for both common and rare plants that have little known features. Each one can be found at some location in one or more of the Town’s natural open spaces. Take some time to walk the trails and see if you can find them.
One of the very earliest plants to look for is skunk cabbage (official name – Symplocarpus foetidus). Look in marshy places likeHawthornPond or at the edges of brooks that cross the old rail bed. It’s called skunk cabbage because it smells skunky when any part of the plant is bruised.