Plant DetailShow Menu

Calla palustris is often confused with:
Caltha palustris Caltha palustris
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Lemna perpusilla Form
Wolffia  Wolffia australiana
Thalia dealbata Thalia dealbata

Calla palustris

Previously known as:

  • Calla brevis
  • Calla cordifolia
  • Calla generalis
  • Callaion heterophylla
  • Calla ovatifolia
  • Provenzalia bispatha
Phonetic Spelling
KAL-lah pal-OOS-triss
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Wild Calla is a small, rhizomatous, aquatic perennial with heart-shaped leaves and bears showy flowers and fruits during the summer. Colonies are frequently found in shallow waters of bogs, rivers, lakes, ponds, or swamps of the temperate and subarctic regions. They are members of the Araceae or Arum family. Other common names include Water Arum, Wild Dragon, Bog Arum, and Swamp Lily.

The plant is native to Alaska, Canada, the northern United States, northern Europe, and northern Asia. 

The genus name, Calla, is Greek in origin for Kallos and means "beauty." The species name, palustris, means "marsh-loving."

Wild Calla prefers partial shade as well as acidic, humus-rich, and moist to wet soils. They may grow in shallow water. The plant is propagated by seeds or rhizome division. 

The plant grows about 6 to 12 inches tall. The leaves are medium to dark green, heart-shaped, waxy, smooth, and have pointed tips and curling leaf margins. The leaf petioles are 10 inches long and rise from the rhizomes. A single flower appears on a stout stem which is about 4-12 inches tall. Each flower has an oval white spathe that partially surrounds an upright cylinder-like spike or spadix. The spadix is yellowish-green in color and is covered with small petalless yellow flowers. Blooms appear from May to June. Clusters of tiny pear-shaped fruits develop on the spadix after flowering. The fruits ripen from green to bright red in late summer. The roots are long and fibrous.

The foliage of this plant contains calcium oxalate that is toxic to animals and humans. The substance irritates the gastrointestinal tract. However, black bears may use the foliage as a food source in the early spring when food sources are limited. 

In temperate regions, the plant may be used in ponds, streams, Rain Gardens, and Water Gardens. The flowers of the spadix are short-lived, but the white spathe is retained for a longer time. The medium-dark green foliage and bright red berries are showy and add interest to wetlands. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:

There are no serious diseases or pest problems.

 

 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#water garden#rain garden#perennials#temperate#spadix#spathe#swamps#ponds#rhizomatous#aquatic plant#bogs
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#water garden#rain garden#perennials#temperate#spadix#spathe#swamps#ponds#rhizomatous#aquatic plant#bogs
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Calla
    Species:
    palustris
    Family:
    Araceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used this plant for treating snakebites, swelling, and soreness.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to Japan, Subarctic America to N. & E. U.S.A
    Distribution:
    Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, New Foundland, Northwest Territory, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon; USA: AK, CT, IL, IN, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, ND, OH, VT, WV, and WI; Europe: Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Central European Russia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East European Russia, Netherlands, North European Russia, Northwest European Russia, Norway, Poland, Romania, South European Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine; Asia: Japan, Korea, and Manchuria; Introduced: Great Britain
    Wildlife Value:
    The foliage is toxic; however, Black Bears feed on the young foliage in the spring when their food supply is limited. Syrphid flies and Carrion flies are attracted to the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Edibility:
    EDIBLE PARTS: Dried berries are edible. Dried seeds and rootstocks can be made into a flour, but used only in times of need.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 4 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Poisonous
    Water Plant
    Habit/Form:
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Obovoid-shaped, green or greenish-yellow berries appear after flowering that ripens to bright red. At maturity, the berries measure about 0.5 inches in diameter. The interior of the seed is gelatinous and contains seeds. The seeds are 0.25 inches long and dark brown in color. Their are somewhat flattened and ellipsoid in shape.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Spadix
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers bloom from May to June. The single bloom consists of a solitary greenish spadix or spike and creamy white petal-like spathe. The spadix measures up to 1 inch long and is densely covered with small yellow petalless flowers. The spathe is oval to elliptic in shape and measures 1-3 inches long and 1 inch wide. It appears waxy and smooth.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Waxy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are medium to dark green, heart-shaped, and taper abruptly to a narrow point. The leaves are simple, and the margins are entire. The edges of the leaf curl inward. Each leaf measures 2 to 4 inches long and appears waxy and smooth.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The flowering stem is smooth, green, and erect. The petioles are 3 to 8 inches long and stout.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    CAUSES SEVERE PAIN IN THE MOUTH IF EATEN! Burning and swelling of lips, mouth, tongue, and throat; difficulty of speaking
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Calcium oxalate crystals
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves