Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 9, 2021

Slinkpod or Fetid Adder’s Tongue Photos & Info

Fetid Adder’s Tongue or Slinkpod Scoliopus Biglovii  is my favorite early season wildflower. Yesterday I went out to look for it in Redwood Forests in Marin and once again enjoyed photographing it.

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The name Bigelovii honors John Milton Bigelow, a surgeon and botanist from Ohio, who did a botanical collecting trip in Marin County in the spring of 1854 that made a significant contribution to the Marin flora.  Scoliopus means crooked foot and refers to the curving stalk of the flower. When the plant first appears in the spring, the flower stalks stand up straight, holding the flower above the two leaves which are still quite small. After the flower has been pollinated, the fruit or seed pod begins to swell and the flower parts fall off. The weight of the growing pod causes the slender stalk to bend over and touch the ground, thus the common name “slink pod”  The name “adder’s tongue”refers to the mottled leaves that have grown quite large after the flowers have fallen off and are visible  for months.  The “fetid” part of the name coming from the odor of the fresh flower which  is thought to attract pollinators. (source for information was Marin CNPS)

Where to see Scoliopus bigelovii in Marin County: John Thomas Howell in Marin Flora lists Sausalito, Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais (Blithedale canyon, Cataract Gulch, Fish Grade), Bolinas Ridge, San Geronimo Ridge, and San Rafael Hills for Marin County locations. A beautiful place to see Scoliopus bigelovii here in Marin County is Muir Woods National Monument.Cascade Falls in Mill Valley is an easy place to see Scoliopus bigelovii. From downtown Mill Valley, take Throckmorton past the public library all the way to the end where it intersects Cascade. Turn right onto Cascade and watch for a small parking lot on the right with a wooden sign reading CASCADE FALLS.  Source: Marin CNPS: Scoliopus bigelovii

To see other locations go the Calflora at 




  1. I was thinking the Adder’s Tongue part refers to the seed head that looks like a tiny adder head, complete with tiny tongue, when it’s in its slinkpod stage.

    Love those photos!

    Liked by 1 person

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