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Products > Zantedeschia aethiopica
Zantedeschia aethiopica - White Calla Lily
Image of Zantedeschia aethiopica
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Araceae (Arums)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 2-4 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Seaside: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Zantedeschia aethiopica (White Calla Lily) - A herbaceous perennial that forms a large clump of arrow-shaped leaves to 2-4 feet tall (tallest in shade) that arise from fleshy rhizomes. This species of calla can be evergreen on the coast if irrigated during summer months but is otherwise summer dormant. In colder climates they can freeze back with a frost but quickly recover. In coastal irrigated gardens flowering is often year-round or in late winter to early summer if not irrigated. The large white trumpet-shaped bract called a spathe surrounds a spike of faintly fragrant yellow flowers on a structure called a spadix that is borne atop 3 foot tall thick stalks. Plant in full coastal sun or light shade with seasonally or year round moist soil. Tolerates near coastal conditions, summer drought, wet conditions and winter cold. This plant is suitable to a dry garden as it persists in gardens without supplemental irrigation but is also useful in well-irrigated gardens or along the edge of a pond. It can also grow as a foliage plant in deep shade where it likely will not bloom. It makes an excellent cut flower that lasts a long time when cut and submerged in water. Though animals eat this plant and African indigenous people have boiled and eaten plant parts, all parts of this plant are considered poisonous because they contain microscopic, sharp calcium oxalate crystals. White Calla Lily is native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland and was introduced into Europe in the seventeenth century with records of it being in the Royal Garden in Paris in 1664. The genus is generally thought to be named for Professor Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773-1846) an Italian physician and botanist, though some sources of information note that it might be named for Francesco Zantedeschi, a 19th century Italian priest and professor of physics and philosophy in the Liceo of Venice, who conducted experiments involving the effects of light and electricity on plants.. The specific epithet aethiopica means of Ethiopian or Africa. Common names include Lily of the Nile, Calla lily, Arum Lily and in South Africa, where they are particularly abundant as Pig Lilies. Image on this page taken by Gina Smith. 

This information about Zantedeschia aethiopica displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.