Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve

The first signs of Spring

Few things say "spring is here" like the emergence of Toronto's population of eastern skunk cabbage. The plant is thermogenic, and able to generate temperatures up to 35°C. This allows it to melt through the frozen ground and to bloom much earlier in the season than pretty much anything else around. Even as winter hurls its final sprinkling of snow against the city, the green and purple tones of a skunk cabbage patch are easily visible between leafless branches.

If you're interested in looking for skunk cabbage, the best locations in the city are probably Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve and Nordheimer Ravine. The population in Nordheimer is particularly noteworthy, resulting from restoration efforts by the now defunct Task Force to Bring Back The Don over a decade ago. Do note, however, that the plant is toxic. Eating even small amounts can cause swelling of the lips and tongue, and large doses can be fatal, so keep a close eye on kids and pets.

Posted on: March 22, 2015