Zantedeschia aethiopica

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Botanical Name
Zantedeschia aethiopica
Araceae - The arum family.
zan-te-DES-kee-uh ee-thee-OH-pik-uh
Common Name(s)
English: Arum lily; Lily-of-the-nile; White arum lily; Pig Lily; Florist's Calla; Lily-of-the-nile
Afrikaans: Wit varkoor; Aronskelk; Varkblaar; Varkblom; Ystervarkwortel
IsiZulu: ihlukwe; Intebe
Sesotho: Mhala-litoe; Mothebe
Plant Group
  • Bulb / Corm / Rhizome / Tuber / Epigeal bulb Bulbs: are made up of fleshy scales as in an onion Corm: a short, swollen, underground stem that is hard and not fleshy as in a gladiolus Tuber: a solid, fleshy, underground, storage organ as in a potato Rhizome: an underground, horizontal, swollen stem at the base of the plant as in an iris Epigeal bulb: bulbs that rest above the ground with only the roots anchoring the plant to the earth as in albuca
Plant Size
  • Medium to Large
    Tree15m to 20m
    Shrub2m to 3m
    Perennial/ground cover60cm to 75cm
    Bulb60cm to 1m
    Succulent60cm to 1m
  • Canopy Shade Canopy shade is found below closely grown trees where some light filters through. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Deep / Full Shade Shade below spreading evergreen trees where sun's rays are unable to penetrate the canopy at any time. For light sensitive plants
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
General Information
  • Deciduous to Semi-deciduous In warmer areas a deciduous plant may not lose its leaves during winter at all, or may lose its leaves for a very brief period, or may only lose part of its foliage.
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate The plant is moderately adapted to arid conditions and can survive short periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Sand tolerant Plants adapted to survive in nutrient poor, very sandy soils.
  • Water Loving Plants need a regular supply of water and must not be allowed to dry out for any length of time.
Specific Information

Zantedeschia aethiopica like plentiful water and grow best in marshy areas, along streams and around ponds. They grow luxuriously in deep shade but flowering will be affected. Evergreen or deciduous depending on climate: dormant in summer in the Western Cape, and dormant in winter in other areas. It will remain evergreen if growing in marshy conditions which are wet all year. Arums are versatile in that they can be found in the humid and salt laden conditions at the coast, as well as in icy, high altitude, mountain grasslands.

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large spathe surrounding a central column on which the tiny yellow flowers are formed

  • Spring to Summer Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • white
Growth Rate
  • Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Border A strip of ground, at the edge of a driveway or path in which ornamental plants or shrubs are planted.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Cut Flowers Plants that provide flowers suitable for ornamental uses.
  • Edging A low growing plant that provides softness or definition to the edges of a bed or walkway.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Mass Planting Plants useful for filling a large area with just one or a few kinds of plants spaced close together. Creates a bold, dramatic effect and to reduces maintenance.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Water Features These plants may have dramatic, lush foliage or graceful form. They do not shed excessive leaves and do not have invasive root systems.
Distribution and Habitat

from the Western Cape through the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to Mpumalanga and into the Northern Province, along streams, in marshes, at the edges of swamps and where sufficient ground water is available

Planting Suggestions

Arums need very rich, well-drained conditions. Choose a shady position where you have easy access to water, and prepare the soil by mixing in compost, well rotted manure and any other additions your soil needs. Division of the rootstock can be done whether the plant is dormant of not, winter probably being the best time for this task. Plant the sections about 5 cm deep. Water regularly and mulch to retain moisture.

Medicinal Uses

The plant can be boiled and eaten. The leaves are used as a poultice and to treat headaches.

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