Late again because my Verizon phone service died and I won’t have it back for a couple of days at least. So, at my actual office, DD, can finally post something, from my near-sun-stroke day at Nuangola Bog yesterday, the incredibly lush Wild Calla.
Lushly decorating the entire boardwalk was luxurious growth of Wild Calla or Water-Arum. I only saw one of the short golden spadix crowded with tiny flowers and couldn’t get a pic. oh well.
Calla is a native erect perennial that is semi-aquatic growing 5 to 10 inches high.
The leaves emerge first and are all basal, arising from the rhizome. They are green, large, somewhat waxy and heart shaped with a pointed tip and with a 2 to 6 inch stalk. Leaf veins are curved, parallel a…nd ascending. Leaf margins are frequently incurved toward the mid-rib.
The inflorescence is a separate flowering stem rising from the rhizome. The flower stalk is usually shorter than the upright leaves. It has a knob shaped 1 to 2 inch spadix covered with tiny yellow-greenish flowers that are partly surrounded by a white open oval to elliptic spathe. Occasionally plants have been found with two or three spathes.
Flowers are mostly bisexual and have from 9 to 12 stamens, but sometimes 6, that are of two types – outer stamens with broad filaments and inner stamens with narrow filaments. Each ovary of the female part has from 6 to 9 ovules.
Fruit: The fertile flowers produce a cluster of berries, deep red that are somewhat pear shaped and contain brown cylindric seeds embedded in the mucilage of the berry.
Toxic: When fresh, the plant is very poisonous as it contains high levels of oxalic acid. There is literature noted below on the use of the plant for foodstuffs.
Habitat: Wild Calla is found in bogs and marshes as it is a plant of shallows, cold water, and wet soils. It can tolerate up to 2 inches of standing water and grows best in full sun. It grows from submerged creeping rhizomes that are horizontal near the surface of the soil. It can be propagated by seed or division of the rhizome.
Names: The species name palustris means “of the marshes”. The genus Calla, an obscure name but thought to be from the Greek kallos, meaning beauty; in today’s classification of species, only palustris is assigned to the Calla genus. The accepted author name for the plant classification, ‘L.’, refers to Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and the developer of the binomial nomenclature of modern taxonomy.
Comparisons: You may note the flower resemblance to garden callas, which are in the genus Zantedeschia, but in the wild, this species has no confusing relatives.