Calla Lilies: Flowers that are not real lilies

In my last post I talked about true lilies where I mentioned that there are many flowers that are not true lilies. These flowers belong to different families. It is interesting to note that although some of these flowers have features that are similar to lilies, there are others that do not look like lilies at all. Today I will focus on the Calla lilies.

Calla lilies (Zantedeschia) are favorite flowers for bridal bouquets and are an important floriculture crop. These flowers belong to family Araceae and are also known as Arum lilies or Pig lilies. Interestingly, the flower is neither a true lily nor a true Arum! The tuberous perennial is indigenous to southern and eastern Africa. The leaves of the plant are dark green and arrow shaped. The plant grows in clumps near water. There are 6 species in this popular genus: Z. aethiopica, Z rehmanii, Z. elliotiana, Z. pentlandii and Z. albomaculata. The white, yellow or pink  'flower' is actually an inflorescence comprising of a funnel shaped spathe which encloses the  central finger shaped spadix (a spike inflorescence which bears numerous small flowers on a fleshy stem). The plant contains calcium oxalate and is poisonous.

The Calla lily flowers signify feminine modesty and delicacy. The beautiful and delicate form of these flowers are definitely inspiring to many artists. Calla lilies were Georgia O'Keeffe's favorite flowers and she painted these flowers so much that she was called the "lady of the lilies". The beautiful artwork above is by Pamela Glasscock.