One might think that the calla lily is just as any other flower when it comes to history, but that would be quite incorrect. The calla lily is one of the genuses that have an interesting history which includes changing their name a couple of times and above that, somehow moving unnoticed from country to country. The calla lily is a much appreciated flower that today can be found in many gardens and many homes around the world, so it is quite interesting to learn where the calla came from.
Calla Lily Origins
The calla lily originates from the southern parts of Africa, namely South Africa up to the country Malawi, which is positioned in alignment with the northern border of the African island Madagascar. This area has a tropical climate in which the calla lily really finds itself at home with a steady temperature, rainy seasons and dry seasons. As there is no real winter with cold winds and snow to worry about there are calla lilies that bloom all year around as long as they have a sufficient supply of water, energy and nutrition.
Calla Lily History – Names
The name of the calla lily is not only just a common name that never is used professionally, it is also totally misinformative since the calla lily is neither a calla nor a lily. Once it was considered to be a calla and the discoverer, famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus, actually categorized all similar plants under the calla genus. When further testing proved that not all callas were not closely related enough to be considered as one genus it was split up by the German botanist Karl Koch and the calla lily genus became known as the zantedeschia genus, named after the Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi. All of the genuses are related to each other under the family of Araceae however.
The Calla Lily - Travelling to Europe
It is not really clear when the calla lily showed up in Europe, but based on an illustration from the Royal Garden in Paris in 1664, it is safe to say that it was grown in Europe at that time. The calla lily became a very popular flower after that, showing up at funerals, weddings and practically any festivity in Europe. It was especially popular since it could be made to bloom all year around in the southern to centre parts of Europe using simple greenhouses. It was a flower that could be grown even when the sky seemed dark.
Calla Lilies – Around the World
While spreading over the world the calla lily also became a very popular motif for painters as the form and colours were extremely appealing to the eye of the beholder. But it did not stop there, since the calla lily was quite sturdy and could survive for a long time even removed from the plant. Thus it quickly became a very popular cut flower. The lonely calla lily cut and placed in a high and sleek white vase is considered an interior decoration classic.