My first apartment in San Francisco, while small itself, boasted a large backyard with numerous garden beds and loads of healthy plant life, including an oversized avocado tree, fragrant trumpet flower trees, and tons of calla lilies. When we moved in July, I didn’t know what they were until around this time of year when they began to bloom.
common name: calla lily or arum lily
scientific name: Zantedeschia aethiopica
Native to Southern Africa, the calla lily is an herbaceous perennial that despite its name is not actually related to the lily family. Its large arrow-shaped leaves are a lush, dark green, which provides a beautiful contrast to the pure white spathe of the blooming flower. A spathe is a type of bract (like a leaf), which helps attract pollinators to the flowers on the spadix (spike in the center).
Calla lilies have gained worldwide recognition from various groups. In Christianity, the calla lily is often present at Easter time to represent the resurrection of Jesus. It also became the symbol of Irish republicanism in the 1920s in remembrance of the Easter Rising of 1916 when many lost their lives. Various artists also paid tribute to the calla lily’s beauty: