Calla palustris

Common Name: water arum 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Temperate regions
Zone: 2 to 6
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White spathe encircles yellow-green spadix
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in acidic, humus-rich, muddy (moist to wet) soils in part shade. Plants tolerate close to full shade, but may become weak-stemmed and lean. Plants will grow in still shallow water (to 2" over the crown) with leaves out of the water. Propagate by seed or rhizome division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Calla palustris, commonly known as water arum or wild calla, is native to bogs, marshes, pond peripheries, slow-moving stream margins, seepages and swamps in Alaska, Canada and the northern U. S. from New England and New York west to northern Illinois and North Dakota. It is in the arum family and closely related to jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) which is also native to eastern North America. Water arum is a small plant that typically grows to 6-12" tall. Smooth, waxy, broad-oval, heart-shaped leaves (to 6" long) with inward curling margins and pointed tips appear on long petioles (leaf stalks) rising from shallow creeping rhizomes to as much as 10" tall. From the center of the leaf stalks rises a single flower in late spring on a stout stem to 4-12" tall. Each flower consists of a showy, flattened, oval white spathe (to 3" tall) that partially encircles a shorter, inner, upright-cylindrical, yellow-green flower spike known as the spadix. The spadix is covered with apetalous yellow true flowers which bloom in June. Flowers on the spadix are followed by tiny pear-shaped fruits (berries to 1/2" long) that ripen to bright red.

Genus name presumably comes from the Greek word kallos meaning beauty.

Specific epithet means marsh-loving.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Aquatic marginal. Boggy areas.