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Zantedeschia aethiopica - (L.)Spreng.
Common Name Arum Lily, Calla lily, White Calla Lily
Family Araceae
USDA hardiness 8-10
Known Hazards Many plants in this family are poisonous raw, due to the presence of calcium oxylate crystals. If eaten raw, this toxin gives you a sensation as if hundreds of tiny needles are sticking into the mouth, tongue etc. However, it is easily destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. Although no specific mention has been seen for this plant it is wise to assume that it is poisonous in its raw state.
Habitats Wet marshy places[73, 90].
Range S. Africa. Locally naturalized in S. and W. Europe[50].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Wet Soil Water Plants Semi-shade Full sun

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily, Calla lily, White Calla Lily

Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily, Calla lily, White Calla Lily
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Zantedeschia aethiopica is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.6 m (2ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers wet soil and can grow in water.


 Pond; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Young leaves - cooked[105, 177]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Specimen. Requires a very rich soil in full sun or shade[1, 200]. Best when growing in full sun[90]. Succeeds in wet soils or water up to 30cm deep[1, 200]. This species is only hardy to between -5 and -10°c[200], although some selected forms, such as 'Crowborough' and 'Green Spathe', are hardy in most parts of Britain if they are planted deeply in shallow water to about 30 cm deep[1, 90, 200]. It is best to cover plants with bracken in the winter in order to protect against exceptional frosts[90]. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Wetlands plant, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse[K]. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow in moist soil in spring in a greenhouse[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division, preferably in the spring[200]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Botanical References
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Readers comment
cristi pike   Mon May 30 14:35:01 2005
i have a question, what happens if a person gets the secrecion on thier body? i was pulling the dead leaves off of mine and about an hour later i started to get bilsters on my hands. the next day the blisters had turned red with blood and were very painful. the pain lasted about three days and the blisters finnaly went away after a week. could this have been caused from the plant?
Aaron Edgeley   Fri Jul 16 09:32:08 2004
i have it on good authority that the leaves, crushed and applied to the brow were used as a headache cure in south africa. i have not tried this personally however, and would advise caution
Nadine Lobsher   Sat Oct 7 2006
Nadine Lobsher i have read in a books that the leaves are apllied to sores in africa.i have not tried it myself but my grandparents use the leaves for sores all the time!
Nadine Lobsher   Sat Oct 7 2006
Nadine Lobsher i have red in a book that the leaves are apllied to sores in africa.i have not tried it myself but my grandparents use the leaves for sores all the time!
lauren meneses   Mon Feb 18 2008
what is the arum's pollinator?
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Subject : Zantedeschia aethiopica  

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