Scientific name

Zantedeschia Koch

Common names

arum lilly, calla lilly



Could be confused with

Calla, Colocasia, Peltandra

Native distribution

southern Africa

Species commonly cultivated

Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.) Spreng. (tropics and South Africa)

Adventive distribution

Zantedeschia aethiopica is introduced in numerous countries worldwide.

Weed status

Zantedeschia aethiopica is commonly a minor weed, only troublesome in irrigation ditches.


broad-leafed, basal rosette plant.

Brief description

Perennial, rhizomatous. Leaves spiral or distichous in basal rosette, large (1-2 m long), sheathing; petiole elongate; leaf blade large, cordate, hastate, or sagittate; margins often undulate. Inflorescence a spadix subtended by spathe, on long peduncle; spathe large, showy, subcylindrical to funnel-shaped, white (Z. aethiopica), but variously colored in cultivated forms of this species; spadix yellow. Flowers unisexual, densely packed; perianth absent. Dispersal of berries by birds.

Natural habitat

wet ground and shallow water or littoral zone

Additional comments

A very commonly cultivated genus of around 28 species and cultivars. Only Z. aethiopica is widely found outside of nursery situations.