Black Calla Lily - Knowledgebase Question

Las Vegas, NV
Question by jcookie76
January 14, 2001
Is there a such thing as a "black" calla lily? I was at a restaurant that used them as a centerpiece. I wasn't sure if this was natural, or there was ink in the water?


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Answer from NGA
January 14, 2001

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Calla, genus of plants of the arum family. The only species of this genus, the water arum, is a perennial herb found in the cold bogs of Canada, Eurasia, and the United States. The water arum, also known as the wild calla, is about 25 cm (about 10 in) tall, has heart-shaped leaves, and bears an oval white leaf surrounding a cluster of yellow blossoms that develop into red berries.

The name calla is applied also to other plants of the same family, especially the golden calla and the calla lily, both native to southern Africa. The calla lily, also called lily of the Nile, grows about 2.5 ft. high and has large spear-tip leaves around a cluster of tiny flowers. The black calla, found in Palestine and Syria, has beautiful black-purple flowers. The black calla is Arum palaestinum, and is not really a calla. A. palaestinum grows 18 inches high and produces black-purple spathes. This plant is tender and should be grown in pots in a frost proof greenhouse in the North.

The bottom line is: if the flowers in the restaurant were callas, they were probably dyed. If they were Arum, the color was natural.


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