Mums is the Word
Calla lily is a common name for the beautiful Zantedeschia aethiopica, which is native to the Southern and Eastern parts of Africa, in the countries of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and others. It's the national flower of the island nation of Saint Helena, where I'm sure Napolean himself enjoyed the prolifically growing wildflowers while he was exiled there.
This is a perennial plant which grows from rhizomes, in large clumps, preferring to live along the banks of or in streams and ponds. The lovely, arrow shaped, slightly ruffled leaves grow to 18 inches long. The flowers grow as an inflorescence (Isn't that a fantastic word?!), meaning groups of flowers growing off of a stem. The spathe or cup-shaped part of the flower grows up to 10 inches tall and the spadix (the yellow part in the middle of the cup) can grow up to 3 and 1/2 inches long.
The plant is evergreen in certain climates, and deciduous--meaning they shed certain parts (like a tree sheds it's leaves or a deer sheds it's antlers) in climates with a dry season.
Callas grow in other areas of the world, having been naturalized by someone who took the plants to a new place, where the plants thrived in their non-native climates. For example, in Australia, Zantedeschias have become a toxic weed and a pest. Hard to believe such a magnificently beautiful thing could be called a pest but it's true. The plant contains oxalic acid, which can be poisonous (poisonous can range in severity from making someone really sick to killing them) to people, plants and animals. If you want to plant these in your yard, consider the pets and small children that might have access to the plants. Also, if you want to plant these in your yard MAKE SURE YOU GET A VARIETY SUITED TO YOUR CLIMATIC ZONE. I've spent far too much money on beautiful purple, yellow and pink mini calla plants that are not suited for my zone. Some of them will do okay if you baby them, but let's be honest here--I don't have the time or attention span to baby a plant in my yard. If it doesn't take to the climate, it will die. It's the sad truth.
Oh, and calla lilies aren't really lilies.
They do come in many wonderful colors, one of my favorite varieties is Picasso, a marbled pale to medium pink mixed with cream. Callas make a great cut flower choice and are perfect for event work. They can last for many hours out of water, and their unique shape lends itself to setting any wedding they are used in, apart from the rest
Annie is the owner of Annie's Main Street Floral and the author of "The Final Arrangement," part of the flower shop mystery series. Annie is Immediate Past -President of the Utah Professional Florist Association, a native of Layton Utah, and alumna of Layton High School.