How the Art Happens - Don't Call Me Skunk Cabbage

March 31, 2021  •  1 Comment

Dont Call Me Skunk CabbageDont Call Me Skunk CabbageIntertwined leaves of the Corn Lilly glow green in soft spring light.

Don't Call me Skunk Cabbage


There's a plant in the high country that grows every spring in damp areas. It has huge, bright green leaves but doesn't produce flowers every year. Many locals call this plant Skunk Cabbage. My biologist friends assure me that this is not Skunk Cabbage, a completely different plant that's not native to Colorado. This one is actually called Corn Lilly.

Whatever we call it, we always look forward to its arrival since it means green will be the dominant color for the next few months. I like its shape. The entwined and overlapping leaves have gentle curves and a subtle texture under soft, diffused light, creating a somewhat abstract form. I enjoy finding abstract forms in nature though I don't think I'm very good at it. It seems like we need to look much closer at our subjects to find the abstract and I'm more of a "big picture" photographer. The Corn Lilly is the perfect subject for discovering those abstract forms in a larger subject. Although the bright sun can make it look harsh and shiny with deep shadows, bright diffused light makes this plant sing to me. The biggest challenge seems to be finding perfect subjects since bugs like to chew on the leaves and they catch anything that falls from above. They grow up to 2 inches a day so catching fresh subjects can be challenging.

I'm still searching for the perfect title for this photograph so, if you have any ideas, I would love to hear about them. I'm not really sold on "Don't Call Me Skunk Cabbage".


Martha Burger(non-registered)
Gorgeous. I like the textures and forms of nature, too. I think you did a great job capturing the abstract form of the Corn Lily.

I have a new email address, Dusty. Please change it so I can continue to get "How Art Happens." Thanks.

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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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