Eastern Skunk Cabbage flower melting up through ice
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Botanical Nerd Word: Thermogenesis

Thermogenesis: The generation or production of heat, esp. in the animal body.*

Although body heat is usually associated only with animals, some plants are actually able to produce body heat as well. One such thermogenic plant is our native eastern skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus. It’s able to raise its temperature an amazing 15°C to 35°C warmer than the surrounding environment, melting up through ice and snow. Look for skunk cabbages poking up this week in Wilket Creek ravine!

*OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017.

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