Plants of Southern New Jersey

Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River & Its Tributaries
Photos by Renee Brecht    Plants of Southern NJ: Home Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River 

Plant Profile

Orontium aquaticum  

Golden club or Never-wet

Orontium aquaticum
Orontium aquaticum
Photo by Renee Brecht    Britton and Brown. See credits below.

Botanical name: Orontium aquaticum
Common name: Golden club
Synonomy: n/a
Group: Monocot
Family: Araceae
Growth Type: Forb/herb
Duration: Perennial
Plant height: 1-2'
Foliage:  It grows from stout rhizomes in the mud of shallow waters. Its leaves are usually out of the water, but often are floating.

Golden club has dark green, velvety leaves, which have a water repellant surface. Leaves are two to four inches wide and six to 12 inches long. They are oblong-eliptic. Leaves grow in groups and emerge from the water on stalks.
Flower color: yellow
Flower size: tiny flowers clustered on a 1-2 inch spadix
Flowering/fruiting time April to June
Habitat: swamps, pond edges; in silty, muddy, or peaty soil
Range in New Jersey: Northern and Middle districts, locally; plentiful in the Pine Barrens, casual in the Cape May peninsula.
Heritage ranking if any: n/a
Distribution Orontium distribution
Misc.: USDA lists as an obligate wetland species: Occurs almost always (estimated probability 99%) under natural conditions in wetlands.

It is the only member of the arum family that does not have a spathe.

Seeds of O. aquaticum were either dried or boiled repeatedly in water before being eaten by Native Americans; Swedish settlers also used the seeds in a similar manner (P. Kalm 1770--1771). Fresh seeds microwaved for 5 minutes in tap water have a "firm texture and pleasant, nutty flavor" and produce no irritation (L. H. Klotz 1992). (eflora.org)

Stone (1911) says "The Golden Club is one of the attractions in the Pine Barrens in springtime, when the surface of the pools bristle with its brilliant, slender, orange-yellow spikes bordered below with white where they join the green stalks, and later we find the floating leaves with their peculiar velvety upper surface from which the water rolls off as from the proverbial duck's back".

Orontium after a plant found on the river
Orontes in Syria. Also the name of the god of the river. Aquaticum, meaning  lives in water.
 Not sure what a word means? Use Answers.com:


Copyright 2008 Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River & its Tributaries.  All rights reserved.
Send comments, suggestions, and error reports to NJBotany