Calla palustris

I suppose if one wanted to be pedantic, this would be the only species one could call a calla lily (though it’s not a lily), as Calla palustris is the sole member of its genus. What many English-speaking people generally call calla lilies are members of the related genus, Zantedeschia. To be fair, though, species now named Zantedeschia were (all?) formerly in Calla.

The first photograph was taken in eastern Ontario in early June, ten days prior to the other two images from central British Columbia. This hints at a broad geographic range for bog arum / water arum / wild calla / marsh calla–and that is indeed the case. Calla palustris is native to cool temperate areas of the northern hemisphere. Its North American range nearly overlaps the expanse of taiga in North America, so one could draw the same conclusion about its presence in Eurasia roughly paralleling the Eurasian extent of taiga. This is almost the case, though notably it can also be found in central Europe as far southwest as France.

The Plants for a Future database provides information on the economic botany of the species (Calla palustris), including its use as a food (with appropriate cautions).

The epithet palustris refers to the preferred habitat: “of marshes” or “of swamps”.

Agriculture resource links: A critical component of global food security is to preserve the various strains of heritage fruits and vegetables. Certain hybrids may be more resistant to particular diseases, others may be more adapted to local climates and others may have the highest nutritional value (as examples of reasons why). I’ve received a number of emails today about the potential destruction of the Pavlovsk Experimental Station, which has “5,500 different varieties of apples, pears, cherries, and numerous berry species — most of which occur nowhere else on Earth and were developed over hundreds of years by farmers in northern Europe, Scandinavia and Russia” (quoted from The Scientist, read more: “Critical plant bank in danger“). is also reporting on the story, “Europe’s largest berry bank faces closure“. The Global Crop Diversity Trust is working to prevent the destruction of the station and its crop diversity (if you intend to sign their petition and do not reside in the USA, use this one instead of the one in the middle of the Global Crop Diversity Trust page (which seems to assume one resides in the USA)).

Calla palustris
Calla palustris
Calla palustris

13 responses to “Calla palustris”

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    I note that at least one of the emails that is sent out when one signs the petition is bounced-back, because the recipient’s inbox is full.

  2. Dan

    Thank you for these. I look forward to each and every one every day.

  3. kathy lange

    First picture is again missing. You keep saying I have given too many comments. This is not the case.

  4. Jarmila

    Wow, it´s beatiful to see the flower in its original place. I´ve seen Callas only at florists yet.

  5. Irma in Sweden

    Thanks so much for the pictures almost every day. Now that I have been subscribing for a rather long time I have a small guessing game each time to see if I can remember what the plants of the previous years are. It is very educating.

  6. steve

    Finally a plant family I recognize!
    People having problem with pics..try reloading again till they come in. Having same problem and thats been my solution. Nice pics!

  7. Claire B (Saskatoon)

    I have this Calla in my backyard pond/bog in Saskatoon, along with water coltsfoot and a few other hardy plants. My red-eared slider, in a separate pond, really loves to eat the leaves and stems. It flowers here in early summer.

  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Kathy, it is frustrating for me that you do not acknowledge that you have or haven’t tried the advice given in either the comments area or in the earlier posting.
    Regarding the “too many comments” message, I suspect that is also behaviour caused by having a virus on your computer — because it sounds like an automated message given by the weblog software when someone tries to spam the weblog.

  9. Irma in Sweden

    The “too many comments” occurs when you are to impatient to post a new post.

  10. Irma in Sweden

    or when the post takes a tad to long to register and you press the submit button again.

  11. Jane

    Lovely arum! I’ll look for this one.
    Steve, thank you for the suggestion to reload when the pics don’t completely come through…it worked!

  12. Seedy

    Hey, Kathy . . . You seem aggravated by this website. Unsubscribe! Use Google images every morning and type in the name of some flower. Presto, you have your choice of what to look at.

  13. sarah

    Oh! Stunning! Little tiny death lillies for all our little tiny deaths! Thanks Daniel.

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