Devil’s club and skunk cabbage

Robin Rowland 
Devil's club  (Oplopanx horridus)
Devil’s club (Oplopanx horridus) (Robin Rowland)

There’s beauty in the forests of the Kitimat Valley, even if you’re a plant with the Latin name horridus. It’s also called the Devil’s Club and has very nasty spines on both the stem and the leaves. It’s related to the ginseng family and was used by coastal First Nations as a medicine for arthritis and dozens of other ailments.

devilsclubskunkcabbagebw

The other appropriately ill-named plant that is common in wetter areas is the skunk cabbage (Lysichiton Americanum) because it stinks. Here the skunk cabbage is pictured alongside the Devil’s Club near Minette Bay.(Robin Rowland)
Found frequently in swampy, boggy areas and on stream beds. First Nations used it as “wax paper” to line baskets and steaming pits. Can be eaten if steamed or roasted–but only in early spring in time of famine.

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