(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
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
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
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