Arodes aethiopicum (L.) Kuntze
Calla aethiopica L.
Calla ambigua Salisb.
Calla moschata Moench
Colocasia aethiopica (L.) Link
Pseudohomalomena pastoensis A.D.Hawkes
Richardia aethiopica (L.) Spreng.
Richardia africana Kunth
Common Name: Arum Lily
Zantedeschia aethiopica is a perennial plant growing from a subterranean, much-branched, fleshy rhizome. It produces a cluster of leaves up to 120cm tall (including their petioles) growing from the rhizome with flowering stems up to 250cm tall. The plant is evergreen in areas with warm summers and sufficient rainfall, but become deciduous if the winters are cold or there is a long dry season[
The plant is occasionally harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine.This is one of the most commonly cultivated plants in the world, valued especially for its beautiful flowers. It is often cultivated to provide cut flowers[
Zantedeschia aethiopica is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Southern Africa - southern and eastern S. Africa.
Wet marshy places[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Zantedeschia aethiopica is found from coastal regions of S. Africa up to elevations of 2,250 metres, and thus experiences a wide range of conditions including hot and humid coastal regions, often with salt-laden air, and freezing, misty mountain grasslands at high elevations[
]. The plant can tolerate short periods with temperatures falling to around -5 and -10°c[
], although some selected forms, such as 'Crowborough' and 'Green Spathe', are hardier[
Requires a very rich soil in full sun or shade[
]. Best when growing in full sun[
]. Succeeds in wet soils or water up to 30cm deep[
Plants are more tolerant of winter cold if they are are planted deeply in shallow water to a depth of about 30cm[
]. It is best to cover plants with bracken in the winter in order to protect against exceptional frosts[
The leaves of the arum are very interesting in that they contain water stomata which can discharge excess water, by a process known as "guttation". This prevents water-logging and enables arum lilies to grow in wet conditions[
An excellent cutflower, it lasts a long time in water[
Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Young leaves - cooked[
]. Eaten in small quantities, and only after cooking[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The leaves are applied topically as a treatment for wounds, sores and boils[
The washed leaves are heated and used as a dressing for wounds, boils, minor burns, insect bites, and sores. People suffering from gout or rheumatism also use the warmed leaves as a poultice to reduce the pain[
Traditional communities located in the Cape powder the dried rhizome and use it as a poultice for inflamed wounds[
The plant can be boiled and eaten by mixing it with honey or syrup as a treatment for asthma and bronchitis; it can also be gargled for the relief of sore throats[
A methanolic crude extract of the plant has shown some antibacterial, anticoagulant and antifungal activity[
The plant is used as a source of dyes[
]. No more information is given
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse[
]. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow in moist soil in spring in a greenhouse[
]. 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[
]. 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.