Calla Lily

Zantedeschia aethiopica

White Calla Lily

Native to:  South Africa

General: Calla lilies average between 1 and 3 feet high and have a diameter of approximately 1 to 1 and 1/2 feet when fully grown.

Leaves: The Calla lily leaves are 11 inches long, rich green, and thick. The green leaves are shaped like arrowheads and have white or silver speckles.

Flowers: The flower is a funnel-shaped, fragrant bloom that grows up to 4 to 6 inches long but may grow as long as 10 inches. Inside the spathe, you can see the tiny, true flowers on the narrow spadix or flower spike.

Fruit/seed: Fruits are approximately 13 x 10 mm.  The fruit ripens from the tip to the base and becomes bright orange.

Public Domain, Ripening fruit

Seed dispersal:  The Calla Lily relies on birds eating the fruit for dispersal of their seeds.

Large Photo of Zantedeschia aethiopica

Pollination: Calla Lilies are not capable of self-fertilizing, it requires two different plants to form a viable offspring. The pollen is extruded through the anther pores it can be spread in many ways, the most popular way for the plant to spread pollen is to attach it to the smooth hard back of many insects most commonly the beetle. After the beetle has had pollen attached to it from one plant, the beetle will travel to another spathe of another Calla Lily for food or shelter and by doing so they accidentally participate in an act of pollination.

Interesting facts: The word Calla comes from the Greek term for beautiful, although these flowers are not related to lilies (Lilium/ Liliaceae). They also contain a poisonous ingredient called oxalic acid that is very dangerous for pets and children.

Human Uses: Although gardeners and florists prize the white calla lily, the plant is considered a weed in its native South Africa. Not much human uses for the plant is contains poisonous chemicals and the roots should be avoided as they are the most poisonous part of the plant.




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