Monday, 4 June 2012


Zantedeschia ( /ˌzæntɨˈdɛskiə/) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa from South Africa north to Malawi. The name of the genus was given as a tribute to Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773–1846) by the German botanist Kurt Sprengel (1766–1833). Common names include arum lily for Z. aethiopica, calla, and calla lily for Z. elliottiana and Z. rehmannii although it is neither a true lily (Liliaceae), nor Arum or Calla (related genera in Araceae). It is also often erroneously spelled as "cala lily". It has often been used in many paintings, and is visible in many of Diego Rivera's works of art (see The Flower Vendor, amongst others).

The Zantedeschia are rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants growing to 1-2.5 m tall with leaves 15–45 cm long. The inflorescence is a showy white, yellow or pink spathe shaped like a funnel with a yellow, central, finger-like spadix.

The Zantedeschia species are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. "All parts of the plant are toxic, and produce irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat, acute vomiting and diarrhea."[3] However leaves are sometimes cooked and eaten.

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