Continuing with Araceas from New Jersey, today, we look at the Wild Calla. Not to be confused with the plant Calla Lily (Zantedeschia) commonly found in garden centers. They belonged to the same family (Calla), but after further analysis, the tropical species are now classified in the genus Zantedeschia.
Bog Arum grows in the cold temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. In the Americas, it grows in the northeastern United States in bogs, swamps, and slow-moving streams.
Orontium aquaticum, Golden Club, or the floating Arum is a plant species endemic to the Eastern United States. Its native habitat extends from as south as Florida, to New York State. It grows in ponds, slow streams, and bogs and swamps.
The plant belongs to the family Araceae, as is clear from its inflorescence. The golden color stands out in the mostly dormant landscape of a bog in spring—Photograph taken in the New Jersey pinelands.
The plant is also called “never-wet.” As you can see here, the leaves are water repellent.
The plant has generated morphological confusion. If you are familiar with a peace lily, you would know that a modified leaf, a spathe surrounds an Arum inflorescence. The spathe is missing from the mature inflorescence. You may observe a green sheath early on in the development, which drops off as the spike matures. Engler had classified the structure as a spathe. We know now that that the small green enclosure was a sympodial leaf. The spathe is missing in this species.
Goldencrest (Lophiola aurea) is a perennial that grows in wetlands with thin grass-like leaves growing above the water surface. The plant spreads using Rhibozomes underwater. It blooms in late summer in a corymb atop a silver-colored stalk.
It is found primarily in the southwestern US from Louisiana to North Carolina, and in isolated populations in New Jersey- Delaware, and up north in Nova Scotia Canada. Owing to its strange geographical distribution, Fernald suggested classifying the northern populations as two separate species (L americana in NJ and DA, L. septentrionalis in Nova Scotia ). Modern studies have proven that all three are the same populations.
The plant faces an uncertain future it faces threats from a changing climate and human development. North Carolina classifies it as an endangered species in North Carolina. Left to its own devices, the plant will survive, it is adaptable and hardy.