Zantedeschia (Calla Lily; Arum Lily)

Zantedeschia is a genus in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa. The genus contains 8 species and numerous cultivars of herbaceous perennials, divided into two main types: hardier outdoor forms with striking white flowers, called Arum Lilies, and the more tender forms with white-spotted leaves and colorful flowers, commonly known as Calla Lilies. Zantedeschia is widely popular and a beautiful addition to any garden. These plants can be grown in beds, borders, containers, but also in water (Zantedeschia aethiopica).

Name meaning:

The genus was named in honor of Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773-1846), a botanist from Italy.

The plant is commonly known as “Calla Lily”. The name, which comes from the Greek word “calla” (“beautiful”), is actually a misnomer because the plant is not a true lily. Carolus Linnaeus, a famous Swedish botanist, made an error naming the plant. But despite the fact it was corrected later, the common name is still in use and relevant today.

Zantedeschia symbolism:

Zantedeschia symbolizes beauty, purity, holiness and faithfulness.

It is also a symbol of rebirth and resurrection.

Interesting facts about Zantedeschia:

Flower Structure

The plant has a large “flower” consisted of only one “petal”. However, what looks like a large petal is actually a bract or modified leaf known as a spathe.
The real flowers are very small and located on the finger-like spadix.

Is Zantedeschia Poisonous?

Zantedeschia contains a poisonous ingredient called oxalic acid.
All parts of the plant are toxic and can cause nausea, vomiting and other serious symptoms when ingested. The plant can be extremely serious and even fatal to pets and small children!

Is Zantedeschia Invasive?

The plant can become invasive in some regions.
Zantedeschia aethiopica is considered invasive in many areas such as Australia, the South Pacific islands and along the coast of California.

Benefits and Uses

Zantedeschias are commonly used at funerals and weddings because of their elegance and beauty.

Plant Type:

Bulbs, Perennials


Zantedeschia is available in a multitude of colors including white, yellow, orange, pink, purple and even black.