Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily)


Photo credit G. dallorto, from Wikipedia Commons

Zantedeshica aethiopica, commonly referred to as the "Calla Lily" or the "arum lily" is the beautiful flower that many associate with weddings and funerals. While it can be found in numerous places around the United States, it is not native to the states and is considered an invasive species. Zantedeschia aethiopica originated in South Africa, but has now been naturalized in many other countries throughout the world. You can discover more about this species' background and habitat on this page.

These elegant flowers are characterized by their long white plumes encase a a barb-like structure known as a spadix. While their common name suggests that they are a type of lily, they do not reside with true lilies. A close relative of Z. aethiopica is the Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) which also thrives in the same habitat. More evidence regarding the phylogeny of the Zantedeschia aethiopica can be found on the classification page.

While Z. aethiopica appears as an untainted, majestic flower, it is poisonous and can cause harm to the health of any individual who ingests the plant. All parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides which can cause mild to severe symptoms. More on the symptoms and ways to treat them can be found under poison.

As stated earlier, Zantedeschia aethiopica is often an extremely popular flower in weddings and in funerals. It is a very pure, and stunning flower which has historically been associated with celebratory gatherings. Its long history of being a highly-desirable flower can be traced from as far back as ancient Rome!

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