GOLDEN CLUB





(Orontium aquaticum) Arum family



Flowers - Bright yellow, minute, perfect, crowded on a spadix

(club) 1 to 2 in. long; the scape, 6 in. to 2 ft. tall, flattened

just below it; the club much thickened in fruit. Leaves: All from

root, petioled, oblong-elliptic, dull green above, pale

underneath, 5 to 12 in. long, floating or erect.

Preferred Habitat - Shallow ponds, standing water, swamps.

Flowering Season - April-May.

Distribution - New England to the Gulf States, mostly near the

coast.



A first cousin of cruel Jack-in-the-pulpit, the skunk cabbage,

and the water-arum (q.v.), a poor relation also of the calla

lily, the golden club seems to be denied part of its tribal

inheritance - the spathe, corresponding to the pulpit in which

Jack preaches, or to the lily's showy white skirt. In the

tropics, where the lily grows, where insect life teems in myriads

and myriads, and competition among the flowers for their visits

is infinitely more keen than here, she has greater need to flaunt

showy clothes to attract benefactors than her northern relatives.

But the golden club, which looks something like a calla stripped

of her lovely white robe, has not lacked protection for its

little buds from the cold spring winds while any was needed. By

the time we notice the plant in bloom, however, its bract-like

spathe has usually fallen away, as if conscious that the pretty

mosaic club of golden florets, so attractive in itself, was quite

able to draw all the visitors needed without further help. Merely

by crawling over the clubs, flies and midges cross-fertilize

them.





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