Collected on April 12, 1919, this specimen was found by Otto Jennings “North of Saunders” in Allegheny County. Jennings was an extremely influential botanist, focusing on nearly all aspects of plants in our region. He made many contributions throughout his career, serving as the curator of botany, director of education, and eventually director of Carnegie Museum of
Natural History. He was also a professor and head of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and advised many students. His legacy is his influence on the museum, botany, conservation, and environmental education.
Skunk cabbage grows in wet, forested areas across the eastern United States. Although easily overlooked, it is one of the
earliest plants to flower in our region. Its flowers produce heat that melts the snow around it. The flowers smell like rotting meat, which attracts the flies that pollinate it. As the name suggests, the leaves smell like skunk when they are crushed.
Botanists at Carnegie Museum of Natural History share pieces of the herbarium’s historical hidden collection on the dates they were discovered or collected. Check back for more!