Zantedeschia aethiopica – arum lily

Zantedeschia aethiopica (common names calla lilyarum lily; a.k.a. varkoor, an Afrikaans name meaning ‘pig’s ear’)  is a species in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland.


Zantedeschia species are growing to 1-2.5 m tall with leaves 15–45 cm long. Common to most members of this family is a modified leaf known as a spathe. This is the part that most us would think of as the flower petal which is shaped like a funnel with a yellow, central, finger-like spadix.Calla lily

Arum Lily is a popular garden plant which grows in wet mud, and in and around the edges of shallow ponds or static water.  Its size depends upon the amount of shade it experiences; it grows larger in shadier corners.  At winter times in the Cape the Arum lilies line the roads where ever there is a bit of damp or water. Field of Arum Lilies -- Perth WA by lettie1957


It has often been used in paintings.  It was a favourite subject of the painter Georgia O’Keeffe.

Here is my painting of arum lilies: Acryllic and pastels on handmade paper.


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8 thoughts on “Zantedeschia aethiopica – arum lily

  1. So many gorgeous flowers come from South Africa. I believe the yellow ones are commonly known as Calla Lilies and the white ones are Arum Lilies. I like the Afrikaans word for them – pig’s ear 🙂


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