Wednesday's Wildflower: Golden Club

Golden Club, Orontium aquaticum L.

Text and Photos by Donna Bollenbach, Suncoast Chapter

Golden Club, Alderman Ford Preserve, Hillsborough County
photo by Donna Bollenbach

Golden Club is an aquatic plant that grows from stout rhizomes in shallow streams, ponds and swamps throughout most of Florida, and much of the eastern United States, and on the coastal plains
The Waxy leaves repel water.
Photo by Donna Bollenbach
of Southeast Texas.  Typical of plants in the family Araceae, its tiny flowers are closely arranged around a fleshy stem, forming a yellow spadix, thus the common name “Golden Club.” It’s other common name “Never Wet”, refers to its large velvety bluish green leaves with a waxy coating that repels water
.  Its Latin generic name derives from a plant that grows in the Orontes River of Syria.

Golden Club is a member of the arum family, and related to Jack-in-the pulpit, skunk cabbage and the garden calla lily. It is the only arum species that does not have a spathe (hood formed from a leaf.) The flower of the Golden Club starts out green, turns yellow during pollination, then back to green during fruit formation. The seeds are dispersed by floating in the water.  

The large leaves and underwater roots provide shelter
 for small fish and frogs. Photo by Donna Bollenbach

Like many members of the Arum family, all parts of the plant are toxic, although there is evidence that Native Americans once ate the seeds and rhizomes.  The leaves and roots provide shelter for tiny fish, frogs and other aquatic wildlife.   

Family Name: Araceae
Genus/Species: Orontium aquaticum L.
Common Name(s): Golden Club, Never Wet
Native Range: Native to Florida, Eastern US and Coastal Plains
Bloom Season: Late Winter through early Spring
Hardiness zone: 5-11
Soil Type: Acidic, loamy soil, requires moving water
Preferred Sun: Prefers Part Shade
Propagation: Root Division, Seeds
Commercially available: Yes

Other Links: 
FNPS: Golden Club
USF Plant Atlas: Orontium aquaticum L. 

Donna Bollenbach is a member of the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society in Hillsborough County Florida, and editor of the FNPS blog.


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