Colours and shapes
Calla Lily, also known as Zantedeschia, is an exceptionally elegant houseplant with a stylised look. Stems crowned with fabulous goblet-shaped bracts emerge amidst the delicate green, sometimes spotted leaves. These bracts can be white, pink or yellow, but also red, purple, orange and even almost black. They’re often thought to be flowers, but the actual flowers are tiny and grow on the spike in the bract. Calla Lily is one of the few flowering plants that goes well in a modern stark interior.
Calla Lily is native to southern Africa, where the plant grows at the base of slopes amidst grass and undergrowth, where it can be boggy at times because of standing rainwater. The plant stores that water in its tuber in order to survive dryer spells. Calla Lily came north in the 18th century with the Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi, who classified the plant in the Arum family.
Greek gods are said to have used the Calla Lily’s calyxes as cups. The shape has inspired many artists, including Diego Riviera ('The Flower Vendor') and Georgia O'Keeffe. In the Victorian language of flowers the Calla Lily symbolised eroticism because of its sensual appearance. Giving an unmarried woman a Calla Lily was the equivalent of making an indecent proposal.