Lysichiton americanus

Lysichiton americanus Hultén et St John (western N-Am.) – A very rare, locally naturalised escape from or relic of cultivation. Doubtlessly best known from the Arboretum Robert Lenoir in Rendeux (valley of riverlet Arlogne) where it was introduced in the early 1950’s, along with L. camtschatcensis, and now spreads in a fresh, shaded valley. The population is extremely polymorphic and represents rather few specimens of “pure” Lysichiton americanus and many of a hybrid of this species with L. camtschatcensis. This hybrid has intermediate characters: spathe yellowish-white and of variable length (often longer than in either parents), flowers slightly fragrant,…. Such hybrids can be referred to as L. xhortensis J.D. Arm. & B.W. Phillips (Armitage & Phillips 2011). In Rendeux viable seed is regularly produced but dispersal seems to be predominantly vegetatively.

A small population (ca. 10 specimens) of Lysichiton americanus was furthermore discovered in Lasne (Lasne-Chapelle-Saint-Lambert) in 2010. Since 2011 also known from nature reserve "De Teut" in Zonhoven and since 2013 from the Abeekvallei in Bocholt. Since then recorded in a few additional localities (see here for an up-to-date overview of observations: New records will probably come to light in a near future.

Hybrids have been reported from the British Isles as well (Stace 2010) and are possibly under-recorded. The taxonomic position of the two species of the genus Lysichiton could come into question and both are perhaps better considered at subspecific rank (Stace l.c.). Lysichiton americanus and L. camtschatcensis are confined to western North America and northeastern Asia respectively. When found together they readily intergrade which seems to confirm their close affinities.

Lysichiton species are, at least in suitable habitats (damp, often shady places), fast colonisers and therefore have a bad reputation as invasive species. Lysichiton americanus (and to a lesser extent L. camtschatcensis) has become an environmental weed in nature reserves in Ireland and the British Isles and, more recently, in Germany, Switserland, Norway and Sweden. A recently discovered location in the Netherlands was therefore eradicated soon after its discovery (Peeters-Van der Meijden & Rotteveel 2006). The mixed Belgian population of Rendeux is monitored but not eradicated (yet).

More information on Lysichiton americanus in Belgium and the Netherlands is available at:, and




Alberternst B. & Nawrath S. (2002) Lysichiton americanus Hulten & St. John neu in Kontinental-Europa. Bestehen Chancen für die Bekämpfung in der Frühpause der Einbürgerung? In: Kowarik I. & Starfinger U. (eds.), Biologische Invasionen: Herausforderung zum Handeln? Berlin: 91-99.

Alberternst B. & Nawrath S. (2011) Wann sollten Maßnahmen gegen invasive Arten erfolgen? Fallstudien Stinktierkohl und Beifuß-Ambrosie. Geographische Rundschau 63(3): 34-40. [available online at:

Armitage J.D. & Phillips B.W. (2011) A hybrid swamp lantern. Plantsman 10: 155-157.

Doyle G.J. & Duckett J.G. (1985) The occurrence of Lysichiton americanus on woodfield bog, County Offaly, Ireland. Irish Naturalists’ Journal 21: 536-538.

Fuchs R., Kutzelnigg H., Feige B. & Keil P. (2003) Occurrence of Lysichiton americanus in the wild in Duisburg and Mülheim an der Ruhr (in German). Tuexenia 23: 373-379.

Kloos A.W. Jr. (1949) Aanwinsten van de Nederlandse flora in 1944. Nederl. Kruidk. Arch. 56: 162-198.

König A. & Nawrath S. (1992) Lysichiton americanum Hultén & St. John (Araceae) im Bochtaunus. Botanik und Naturschutz in Hessen 6: 103-107. [available online at:]

Korneck D. & Krause A. (1990) Lysichiton amerikanus Hulten und St. John (Araceae), ein Neubuerger im Hochtaunus. Hessische floristische Briefe 39(4): 53-56.

Lebreton A. (2007) Présence du Lysichite jaune ou Faux arum, Lysichiton americanus Hultén & St John (Araceae), en France. Symbioses, nouvelle série 20: 60-64.

Lenfors I. & Nilsson N.G. (1987) Orontium aquaticum and Lysichiton americanus found in S Halland (in Swedish). Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift 81: 37-39.

Mäkert R. & Gutte P. (2011) Lysichiton americanus Hultén et St. John, ein Neufund für Sachsen. Sächsische floristische Mitteilungen 14: 72-74.

Mazomeit J. (2012) Erstnachweis der Amerikanischen Scheincalla (Lysichiton americanus) in der Pfalz. Pollichia-Kurier 28(3): 18-20. [available online at:

Peeters-Van der Meijden K. & Rotteveel T. (2006) Lysichiton americanus Hultén & H. St. John, een impossante indringer. Gorteria 32: 37-44.

Stace C. (2010) New flora of the British Isles, 3th ed.: XXXII + 1232 p. Cambridge University Press.

Willson M.F. & Hennon P.E. (1997) The natural history of western skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) in southeast Alaska. Canadian Journal of Botany 75: 1022-1025.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith