The History of the Calla Lily


Calla lilies have been cultivated and used for decorative and symbolic purposes since ancient Roman times. Calla lily flower are beautiful on the plant and survive very well as cut flowers. From their origins in Africa, calla lilies now have worldwide appeal.


The calla lily originated between South Africa and Malawi. This area is tropical with stable temperatures, predictable rainy and dry seasons, and is warm enough so plants don't suffer from frosts and freezing temperatures.


The calla lily's common name is actually a vestige of incorrect historical naming. It is neither a member of the genus Calla nor a member of the lily family. The calla lily is, according to, a member of the genus Zantedeschia.


The calla lily was cultivated in ancient Rome, and used as a flower of celebration. Calla lilies were enjoyed at weddings and held as a symbol of purity.


The calla lily appeared in a "Royal Garden of Paris" illustration in 1664. This indicates that the flower was grown in Europe before the date of the illustration.

The World

Over time, calla lily cultivation expanded worldwide, including as an indoor flowering plant in many colder climates. Today, calla lilies are often used as elegant decorative flowers, especially at weddings, just as in ancient Rome.


  • Calla Lily Origin And History
  • History of the Calla Lily

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Keywords: flower history, wedding flowers, calla lily

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.