Zantedeschia the wedding flower (commonly mistaken for the flower of death) is a genus of twenty-eight species of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa from South Africa north to Malawi. The name of the genus was given as a tribute to Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi (1773-1846) by the German botanist Kurt Sprengel (1766 - 1833). Common names include Arum lily for Z. aethiopica, calla, and calla lily for Z. elliottiana and Z. rehmannii although it is neither a true lily (Liliaceae), nor Arum or Calla (related genera in Araceae). It is also often erroneously spelled as "cala lily". It has often been used in many paintings, and is visible in many of Diego Rivera's works of art (see The Flower Vendor, amongst others).
The Zantedeschia are rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants growing to 1-2.5 m tall with leaves 15-45 cm long. The inflorescence is a showy white, yellow or pink spathe shaped like a funnel with a yellow, central, finger-like spadix.
All species are endemic to southern Africa. Z. aethiopica grows naturally in marshy areas and is only deciduous when water becomes scarce. It grows continuously when watered and fed regularly and can survive periods of minor frosts. Z. aethiopica is a very strong and sturdy plant, being able to grow in many soils and habitats, multiplying by rhizome-offsets; it is naturalised and regarded as a weed throughout much of the world. Z. odorata is a rare species, resembling Z. aethiopica, but deciduous and smelling like freesia, endemic to a few localities in South Africa. Z. albomaculata is a widespread and variable species, growing from South Africa north to Kenya, varying in shades of white to cream and pink to orange-shades. Z. elliotiana is known from horticultural sources only and is probably of hybrid origin. Z. jucunda and Z. pentlandii are rare species with beautiful large yellow showy flowers. Z. rehmannii is a pink-flowered species with sword shaped leaves.
All zantedeschias produce large, showy flowers spathes and are often grown both as ornamental plants and for cut flowers.
More photos can be seen at: elyssaconleyphotos.zenfolio.com/