Symplocarpus is one of the earliest plants to flower in spring in northeastern North America, sometimes with spathes emerging through snow on the ground. Because inflorescences are developed during the previous summer, flowering can occur during any warmer than normal weather throughout winter. The spadices of both Asian and American plants produce heat during flowering and can reach temperatures up to 25°C above ambient air temperature (R. M. Knutson 1972; S. Uemura et al. 1993). These elevated temperatures probably play a role in pollination and in facilitating floral development at cold temperatures.
Fls perfect, covering the subglobose spadix, this subtended and mostly enclosed by a fleshy, ovate, pointed spathe; perianth of 4 erect, connivent tep; stamens 4; ovaries buried in the spadix, unilocular, uniovulate; style stout, 4-angled, subulate; seeds embedded in the enlarged, spongy spadix, covered by the persistent perianth and style; herb from a thick rhizome; spathe partly underground, with very short peduncle, the lvs appearing later and becoming very large. Monotypic.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.