Unlike people, not all plants are created equal. A toxic (and stinky) Hudson Valley resident has just begun poking its "claws" out of the soil.

Spring is the time for new beginnings. Whether it's the adorable black bear in Wappingers Falls, NY recently spotted playing on a trampoline, or new plants sprouting under our feet, there's always something new to see. One specific species of vegetation, however, is a little different than all the rest.

"Dragon Claws" are sprouting in the Hudson Valley (NYS DEC)
"Dragon Claws" are sprouting in the Hudson Valley (NYS DEC)

"Dragons" Sprouting in the Hudson Valley, NY

"As Mother Nature wakes up, watch for one of the classic signs of spring - dragon claws emerging from the earth…just kidding!", began the playful post from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). Those pointy "claws" they photographed (below) are actually the first growing stages of skunk cabbage.

Skunk Cabbage is one of the first flowers to bloom in New York (NYS DEC)
Skunk Cabbage is one of the first flowers to bloom in New York (NYS DEC)

All About Skunk Cabbage in New York

Skunk cabbage, as its name suggests, is a smelly flower. It's also a reliable marker of the change of seasons, as it's one of the earliest bloomers in New York to appear in spring.

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There are some similarities with a dragon, too, as the NYS DEC shares that they are basically firebreathers:

Skunk cabbage is more than just a stinker! Flowers can generate their own heat to melt snow and ice around them and provide a warm respite to early spring insects during cold dips in temperature

Skunk cabbage (no, not that skunk cabbage) is also poisonous. Oxalates in the plant can cause symptoms ranging from "mouth pain and irritation" all the way to death if eaten, so hopefully, you're not compelled to put a flower that smells like rotting meat in your mouth.

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