Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Golden-club - Orontium aquaticum   L.
Members of Araceae:
Only member of Orontium in NC.
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Section 5 » Order Arales » Family Araceae
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DistributionOccurs statewide, and perhaps eventually will be found in all 100 counties, though records currently for just 2/3rds of the counties. Of most widespread occurrence in the eastern Piedmont and southwestern Coastal Plain, where records for nearly all such counties.

This is mostly an Atlantic Seaboard species, being found from MA and NY, then south and southwest to southern FL and eastern TX. It is absent from Great Lakes states.
AbundanceCommon in the Sandhills and much of the remainder of the southern and southwestern Coastal Plain. Fairly common, at least locally, in the southeastern Piedmont. It is uncommon and local over the remainder of the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Mountains.
HabitatThis species grows in shallow water in mostly still or gently moving conditions. It grows at beaver ponds, along blackwater creeks, open areas in swamps, in some pocosins, acidic-water marshes, and even in bogs in the mountains. In most cases, the soil is peaty and acidic. As it favors more acidic places, it is not as widespread as a few other broad-leaved aquatics such as Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) or Green Arrow-arum (Peltandra virginica).
PhenologyBlooms in March and April, and fruits not long after flowering.
IdentificationThis is an easily identified species, familiar to most biologists owing mostly to the unique inflorescence. The leaves have long stalks (often 1 foot or more) that allow the large elliptical leaves to at times lie flat on the water surface. The leaf blades are usually about 6-8 inches long and about half as wide, but in many places simply are angled upward and rather erect. These leaves have the ability to shed water quickly "without getting wet", sometimes noticeable in the field. The flowering scape grows up to about 1.5 feet long, being strikingly white and topped at the last 2-3 inches by the densely packed and tiny bright golden-yellow flowers; in addition, it is strikingly erect (vertical), even when the lower portion toward the water surface is curved. When this scape is seen, in flower or in fruit, it immediately identifies the plant owing to its white color. As this species is in a monotypic genus, there are no other close relatives for confusion. It is most readily found in the Sandhills and other places in the southern Coastal Plain from bridge crossings over blackwater streams and along pond edges.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Bog Torch, Bog Torches, Never-wet. These are all very infrequently used, and Golden-club (hyphen or not or two words or not) is nearly universally used.
State RankS4 [S4S5]
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, April 2015. RichmondPhoto_natural
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