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Zantedeschia aethiopica

Zantedeschia aethiopica, Photo: Augusta Stylianou, Artist

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Liliopsida
Subclassis: Alismatidae
Ordo: Alismatales
Familia: Araceae
Subfamilia: Aroideae
Tribus: Zantedeschieae
Genus: Zantedeschia
Species: Zantedeschia aethiopica


Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.) Spreng., Syst. Veg. 3: 765. 1826.


Calla aethiopica L., Sp. Pl. : 968. 1753.


* Arodes aethiopicum (L.) Kuntze, Rev. Gen. : 740. 1891.
* Colocasia aethiopica (L.) Link, Diss. Bot. (Link) : 77. 1795.
* Otosma aethiopica (L.) Raf., New Fl. (Rafinesque) 2: 90. 1836.
* Pseudohomalomena pastoensis A.D.Hawkes, Madroño 11: 147-148, f. 1. 1951.
* Richardia africana Kunth, Ann. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 4: 437, t. 20. 1815. nom. illeg.
* Richardia aethiopica (L.) Spreng., Syst. 3: 765; v. 594.
* Zantedeschia aethiopica var. minor Engl., Pflanzenr. IV. 23Dc(Heft 64):63. 1915.


Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 02 Mar 2009 [1].

Vernacular Names

Ελληνικά, Κυπριακά: Κάλλα, Λείριο
English: Calla lily


Zantedeschia aethiopica (common names Lily of the Nile, Calla lily, Easter lily, Arum lily); syn. Calla aethiopica L., Richardia africana Kunth, Richardia aethiopica (L.) Spreng., Colocasia aethiopica (L.) Spreng. ex Link) is a species in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland.[1]


It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant, evergreen where rainfall and temperatures are adequate, deciduous where there is a dry season. It grows to 0.6–1 m (2–3 ft) tall, with large clumps of broad, arrow shaped dark green leaves up to 45 cm (18 in) long. The Inflorescences are large, produced in spring, summer and autumn, with a pure white spathe up to 25 cm (10 in) and a yellow spadix up to 90 mm (3½ in) long.[2]

Zantedeschia contains calcium oxalate, and ingestion of the raw plant may cause a severe burning sensation and swelling of lips, tongue, and throat; stomach pain and diarrhea is possible.[3][4]

Distribution and habitat

Zantedeschia aethiopica is native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland. It has become naturalised in Australia, particularly in Western Australia where it occurs in areas with high periodical water tables and sandy soils. The plant has been classified as toxic weed and is a declared pest.[5][6]

Cultivation and use

A number of cultivars have been selected for use as ornamental plants. 'Crowborough' is a more cold tolerant cultivar growing to 90 cm (36 in) tall, suited to cool climates such as the British Isles and north-western United States. 'Green Goddess' has green stripes on the spathes. 'White Sail', growing to 90 cm tall, has a very broad spathe.[2] 'Red Desire' has a red instead of yellow spadix and appears to be rare. 'Pink Mist' has a pinkish base to the spathe.

In order to introduce colours to the large white Calla Lilies just like the many colour varieties available with the dwarf summer Calla Lilies, attempts to hybridise Zantedeschia aeithiopica x Zantedeschia elliotiana have resulted in albino progenies, which are non-viable.

It has been cultivated for the Easter floral trade since the early 20th century; hence the (ambiguous) name 'Easter lily', common in Britain and Ireland. It has become an important symbol of Irish Republicanism since the Easter uprising of 1916.


1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Zantedeschia aethiopica
2. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
3. ^ Poisonous Plants of North Carolina Retrieved on 8-2-2009
4. ^ http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Zantedeschia+aethiopica
5. ^ "Arum Lily". Weeds Australia Weed indentification. http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&ibra=all&card=H10. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
6. ^ "Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)". Declared plant in Western Australia. http://agspsrv95.agric.wa.gov.au/dps/version02/01_plantview.asp?page=1&contentID=7&. Retrieved 2008-04-23. Dept Agriculture and Food, Western Australia

* Alfred Pink (2004). Gardening for the Million.. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
* Botanicas Annuals & Perennials, Random House, Sydney, 2005, ISBN 0091838096

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Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License