Reproduction in calla lilies is very similar to many
other flowers. First of all, Zantedeschia aethiopica is not capable of
self fertilizing, it requires two different plants to form a viable
offspring. The female part of the plant is the ovary and the male
contribution is the anthers. On average in the calla lily there
are 15 anthers for every one ovary. On each spadix there is 40-100
ovaries and 400-1500 anthers. On the spadix the lower section
contains the female flowers and the upper region is covered by a mass of
Seeds of Zantedeschia aethiopica
The Process to produce fruits can easily be summed up
in six steps:
Pre-Female Phase- In this phase the spathe emerges
and is tightly rolled. The phase averages three days and at the
end of it the spathe becomes visible. At this point the plant is
immature and cannot reproduce.
Female Phase- During this phase the spathe begins the
process of unwinding. This process takes six days to complete and
at the end of it the anthers are still immature.
Male Phase- At this point the spathe is completely
opened. The anthers then discharge their pollen simultaneously.
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. The pollen is actually extruded in long very fine
strands. The stigma secretes a sticky secretion that allows it to
attach. After the beetle has had pollen attached to it from
one plant the idea is that the beetle will use the spathe of another
calla lily for shelter or for a place to trap food and by doing so they
accidentally participate in an act of pollination.
Fruit Development- This is the part of the process
where the fruits (berries) begin to enlarge and when complete they reach
a size of aprox. 13 x 10 mm. Other regions of the plant like the
spathe and staminodes begin to wither and brown.
Fruit Ripening- The fruit ripens from the tip to the
base and becomes bright orange.
This fruit can then be eaten by animals such as birds
and be distributed by these animals. The plant relies on the birds
This page is maintained by Ashley Schulz