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Primitive, Striking and Smelly: Cozying Up With the Skunk Cabbage

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Skunk cabbage flowers generate their own heat using an oxygen burning process very similar to that used by animals.  The heat in these flowers can reach 70 degrees in the dead of winter, melting the snow around it and attracting beetles and other pollinators.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoopmon/3385830049
Skunk cabbage flowers generate their own heat using an oxygen burning process very similar to that used by animals. The heat in these flowers can reach 70 degrees in the dead of winter, melting the snow around it and attracting beetles and other pollinators.

Coming out to play is what spring is all about, and in the local plant world, one of the first things to emerge come spring is the smelly "skunk cabbage." It simulates death to pollinate itself and can even melt the snow around it! Environmental reporter Sabri Ben-Achour takes a walk to find out this primitive plant's secret.

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