Zantedeschia (Calla Lily; Arum Lily)

Zantedeschia is a genus in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa. The genus contains 8 species 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, called Calla Lilies. Zantedeschia is a widely popular and a beautiful addition to any garden. They can be grown in beds, borders, containers and also in the water (Zantedeschia aethiopica).

Name meaning:

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

Calla Lily, named after the Greek word “calla” (beautiful), is actually a misnomer because it’s not a true calla and it’s not a true lily. Carolus Linnaeus, a famous Swedish botanist, made an error naming the plant and even it was corrected after, the common name “Calla Lily” is still active 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 (modified leaf), called 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, 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.