What Is Calla Lily Flower? Its History And Symbolisms


The world's most unique flower


Calla Lily is among the world's unique flowers because its flowers do not consist of the same series of petals which most flowers have. Instead, its flowers are made of a spathe and spadix. The calla lily has a relatively unusual shape that makes it unique, and its pristine color further enhances its beauty and charm.

Calla Lily has a deeply rooted cultural and historical significance, and indeed you have seen this beautiful blossom before since it is a popular choice for weddings. With its ivory white petals and lush green leaves, this elegant bloom is more than just a pretty flower to place in a vase. But in fact, these flowers have been sought after for centuries.

Are you thinking how come this unusual flower has become so popular? Keep on reading as we go on the rich heritage and cultural symbolism of this elegant flower throughout the century.

The Calla Lily in botanical science belongs to the  Zantedeschia genus and Araceae family. It is also called "pig lily," "trumpet lily," and "arum lily." It starts to blossom in late spring.

Its Name

Calla Lily’s name is derived from the Greek word "calla," translated as beautiful. The name itself is a misnomer because it is not actually a true lily. The Swedish botanist Carolus Lunnaeus made this error and was eventually corrected by a German botanist Karl Koch by creating a genus Zantedeschia. But the flower's common name has stuck and remained unchanged up to this date.

Its Origin

Calla Lilies grow native to South Africa and Malawi, requiring warm temperatures. They can grow in water and can survive frost.

Its Appearance

Calla Lily flowers are vibrant and rich color flowers that come from bulbs. The flower is consists of a spathe, the outer part of the flower, and a spadix, the yellow spike in the center. The spathe is actually a leaf rather than a petal.

Its History, Myths, and Symbolism

  • As mentioned above, Calla Lilies are native to South Africa, and it is not clear how they reached their way to Europe, but there is an illustration of the Royal Garden of Paris in 1664 that shows Calla Lily flower.
  • In Ancient Greek culture, Calla Lily symbolizes magnificent beauty. This symbolism has been derived from a Greek myth regarding Hercules as a baby. Zeus, a Greek god, conceived Hercules with an earthly woman, which means that he would lack supernatural and divine powers. Zeus drugged his goddess wife Hera to trick her to nurse the baby Hercules for him to have divine powers. As the drug wore off, Hera came to her sense and threw the nursing baby from her. As she did so, some of her breast milk dropped to the earth and sprouted from calla lilies.
  • The lilies grew with god-like beauty, making the goddess Venus jealous, so she cursed the blossom resulting in the central spike's formation inside the cupped blossom. The spike inside the calla lily flower is actually the actual flower, while the outer petal part is its leaf.
  • The Ancient Romans and Egyptians notice the phallic nature of the inner spike. For Romans, the spike in the center of the petals became the emblem of human genitalia, so they relate Calla Lily to eroticism and sexuality. On the other hand, Egyptians resembled human genitalia but adopted a different approach and related the flower to fertility and inception.
  • Calla Lily has been associated with the Virgin Mary throughout art history. It was said that Mary took a sniff of Calla Lily to conceive Jesus, and her tomb was later covered in white calla lilies.  With this, there is no surprise that calla lily meanings center on the concept of holiness, faith, and purity.
  • Calla Lily is also linked to the resurrection of Jesus Christ because they bloom around Easter. That's why it became a symbol for rebirth and resurrection and became a traditional Easter flower.
  • Calla Lily looks like a shaped trumpet, so they also represent triumph. Additionally, the cone-line flowers blossom in spring, so they also became symbols of youth and rebirth.
  • Another folklore that tells the origin of calla lily is the belief it came from Eve's tears as she left the Garden of Even. Her tears of sorrow fell to the ground, and from those tears, sprung the calla lilies.
  • During the Victorian period, call lily bouquets took an important role in Great Britain as "secret messenger:. The inclusion of the calla lily flower in coded floral designs expresses sexual desire.
  • By the 20th century, calla lilies became popular in the United States and became a popular fixture in American art. This is evident through Georgia O'Keefe, who painted several famous paintings portraying close-ups portrait of the flower.

Traditions associated with Calla Lily

  • The meanings adopted by Egyptian and Roman cultures became a significant factor in why Calla Lily flowers have been popular flowers in weddings worldwide. The white petal symbolizes the bride's chasteness, while the inner spike symbolizes her fertility as she hopes to bear children in the future. As time goes by, the relationship of calla lilies and marriage has developed into a calla lily representation of marital bliss and true devotion.
  • During the Easter Service, it is common to see many white calla lily flowers since they represent resurrection and rebirth. This custom became the root cause why calla lilies became a conventional choice for funeral arrangements and expressions of sympathy.
  • In funerals, calla lily symbolizes the idea of purification of a departed soul, especially when the blooms are white in color.  A depiction of a broken calla lily flower on old tombstones means that someone died before their time.
  • Calla Lily is an appropriate flower for any occasion that involves new beginnings and significant transitions in one's life.

Different Varieties of Calla Lily and its Symbolism

Since ancient times, flowers have a specific language that we humans should understand. In the 19th century, many flowers were named and associated with our emotions. Since that time, each flower has its specific meaning, and it would be essential to know its implications when you receive a bouquet of flowers from someone.

Let's look at different varieties of calla lilies and their symbolism to know the right calla lily flower for any occasion.

  • White Calla Lilies - represents innocence and purity. These are commonly seen at the funerals of younger people symbolizing that they have passed before their time.
  • Yellow Calla Lilies - represents joy, progress, and gratitude. These are made into the bouquet to celebrate a birth or a significant change in life.
  • Pink Calla Lilies - represents appreciation, romance, and admiration. These are perfect for a bouquet to give to someone to thank them for what they have done or deliver to you.
  • Purple Calla Lilies - represents royalty, passion, and charm
  • Black Calla Lilies - represents mystery and elegance
  • Blue Calla Lilies - represents femininity and grace
  • Red Calla Lilies - represents beauty, desire, and courage. These flowers are perfect for expressing hot romance and passion.

Its Anniversary

Calla Lilies are reputed as the 6th wedding anniversary flower representing the beauty of a couple's love.

Fun Facts about Calla Lily

  • Calla Lilies is often mistakenly thought of as its flowers, but these are modified leaves. The narrow spadix in the center of the spathe is the real flower. Hence, there are many flowers in one stem of the calla.
  • Georgia O'Keefe's painting portrays Calla Lily as a resemblance of the female anatomy.
  • Despite the flower's elegance and splendid appearance, the calla lily is poisonous to humans and animals. Even though these flowers are highly toxic, some Asian countries have developed a taste for them.

Now that you know about the rich heritage and cultural symbolism of Calla Lily, let me show you another approach to have the message and beauty of Calla Lily as a flower to gift to someone special be grander and long-lasting.

In our modern age of technology, where people text instead of talk, showing affection through flower symbolism is still an enduring part of our culture. So while a bouquet of white Calla Lilies might be lovely to get from a special someone or an admirer, there is no greater happiness to receive a calla lily sterling silver jewelry instead. I bet you prefer your Calla Lilies petals shimmering and sparking in astonishing gemstone and sterling silver for its enduring elegance and grace.

Calla Lily Sterling Silver Jewelry

With this, let me present to you our astounding and glamorous collection of Calla Lily Sterling Silver Jewelry.

Because Calla Lily is often used as wedding decorations, each of these nature-inspired sterling silver jewelry pieces in our collection would be a great gift option for a bride or bride-to-be. 

Calla Lily Bangle

The nature-inspired sterling silver jewelry Calla Lily Bangle was artfully molded to encircle elegantly around the wrist. While the two calla lilies – one big and one small – serve as locks that keep the bangle in place and as beautiful adornments. This stunning handmade sterling silver jewelry is perfect for all women of all ages and an ideal gift for someone who means a lot to you.

Calla Lily Earring

Natural white crystal petals surround a gold stigma. A silver stem curls itself around your ears ending with 18k gold plated nectar—a work-of-art depiction of the Calla Lily Flower.

Our craftsmen's meticulous work has transformed materials we've all seen before into an excellent piece of art, the Calla Lily Earring. A beautiful set of handmade sterling silver jewelry earrings shows simplicity explicitly in sophistication. These earrings are a piece of stunning nature-inspired jewelry that will surely bring color and elegance to your formal wear.

Calla Lily Ring

Natural white crystal petals surround a gold stigma, a silver stem curls itself around your finger, ending with a red Garnet stone. A timeless masterpiece of Calla Lily.

Our craftsmen's meticulous work has transformed materials we've all seen before into an excellent piece of art, the Calla Lily Ring. Handmade with love by our creative artisans, this nature-inspired sterling silver jewelry can be worn every day as a beautiful reminder of our love and its enduring beauty.

Have you picked your choice of Calla Lily Sterling Silver Jewelry? Please check our online store, Lotus Fun, and complete your purchase conveniently. We guarantee you our utmost commitment and service to deliver you authentic sterling silver jewelry at your doorstep!


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"Something is handmade is so much more meaningful"

Beth Wert