This coarse and singular plant, with its ill odor, is yet of interest because it has the reputation of being the earliest bloom of spring. In March you may look for the singular, lumpy flowers which precede the big, coarse leaves. The flowers crowd and cover a thick, fleshy spadix, which becomes green and purplish, long-stalked. The enveloping spathe is large, broad, at first completely covering the spadix; afterward, as the fruit matures, decaying and falling off. The fruit itself is a singular, repellent-looking mass, being the spadix enlarged, soft, spongy, with the seeds formed underneath the epidermis. Later these drop to the ground like small bulbs.
The plant leaves are clustered at the root. They are from 1 to 2 feet long, and nearly as broad.
Notwithstanding the skunk and garlic combination of odor which this plant possesses, and which often permeates the atmosphere around, insects, including flies, buzz and hum over the flowers with seeming pleasure. Small ins are often caught and drowned in the accumulation of rainwater within the channels of the leaf-stalks.