Calla lilies are one of the most beautiful flowers.
This flower is not technically part of the real lily family. Instead, it’s a different type of flower with a bloom similar to other true lilies; it is a member of the Araceae group that includes the philodendron.
The flower was named after the Greek word for beautiful — calla.
It is associated with the Greek goddess Hera. According to the legend Zeus brought Hercules, his son from another women, to Hera, his wife, while she was asleep to drink her milk. When she woke up she pushed him away and drops of milk flew across the sky to create the milky way. The ones that fell on the ground grew into beautiful calla lilies.
However, the most common meaning for calla lilies is purity, holiness, and faithfulness. It’s commonly depicted in images of the Virgin Mary.
Calla lilies are also symbols for rebirth and resurrection, tied to the resurrection of Jesus in part because they bloom around Easter and in part because they are shaped like trumpets which symbolize triumph.
Calla lilies native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland.
It has naturalised in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, coastal California and Australia, particularly in Western Australia, where it has been classified as a toxic weed and pest.
It is not clear how they made their way to Europe, but they are depicted in an illustration from the 1664 illustration of the Royal Garden of Paris.
The plant grows readily in mud or shallow water along pond edges or water courses.
It is a perennial evergreen plant where rainfall and temperatures are adequate and deciduous plant where there is a dry season.
It grows to 0.6 to 1 meters (2 to 3.3 feet) tall, with large clumps of broad, arrow shaped dark green leaves up to 45 centimeters (18 inches) long.
The inflorescences are large and are produced in spring, summer and autumn, with a pure white spathe up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) and a yellow spadix up to 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) long.
Calla lilies are commonly white, but they also come in a variety of colors, including yellow, light blue, pink, green, orange, lavender and purple.
Different color meaning options include:
• Pink calla lilies symbolize appreciation and admiration
• Yellow calla lilies symbolize gratitude.
• Lavender and light blue to convey a sense of grace and refined beauty to the recipient of your gift,
• Purple calla lilies symbolize charm
• Dark purple for royalty and strength
Most people first encounter this flower when decorating for Easter or choosing a live plant to send as a gift for the holiday. It’s also used around Christmas as well, when hothouse specimens are available.
Calla lily is the national flower of the island nation of Saint Helena, where it grows widely.
It is an important symbol of Irish republicanism and nationalism since 1926, because it is used to commemorate the dead of Easter 1916 and onward.
Eating any part of a raw calla lily can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pain, intense burning sensations, and swelling of the throat, tongue and lips. North Carolina State University describes the plant as highly toxic, warning that it may be fatal if eaten.