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Zantedeschia aethiopica

Family: Araceae (Arum family)

Common names: Arum Lily (E); ihlukwe (Z); Varkoor, Vitvarkoor (A); Mothebe (SS); Umfana-kamacejane (Sw); Intebe (X);

Native to: Southern Africa
Bulb, Groundcover, Perennial
Zantedeschia aethiopica bears minute yellow flowers which are shielded by a large white spathe borne on the end of a tall stem.

Zantedeschia aethiopica

EVERGREEN

FULL SUN

SEMI-SHADE

SEMI FROST HARDY

MEDIUM WATER REQUIREMENTS

HIGH WATER REQUIREMENTS

FAST GROWER

ATTRACTS BIRDS

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

0.6m x 0.5m

MAXIMUM SIZE:

0.9m x 0.6m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Zantedeschia aethiopica

DESCRIPTION

A striking perennial tuber that is used as a cut flower.  The attractive white ‘flower’ is actually a spathe which serves as a shielding bract enclosing a finger-like yellow spine which bears hundreds of minute, individual flowers.  The spine is creamy white and becomes bright yellow as the flowers mature. The spathe is displayed on a tall stem about 1.2m above the clump of lush, arrow-shaped leaves.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Marshy and swamp areas in sun or shade.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
This is a larval host plant to Macroglossum stellatarum (Hummingbird Hawk-moth) caterpillar.
The flowers have a faint scent which attracts bees and other pollinating insects.
A white crab spider of the family Thomisidae often visits the flower to capture insects. This spider uses its whiteness as camouflage against the spathe.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Keep moist, especially in summer.
MAINTENANCE
Low maintenance.
Keep the plant moist to ensure the leaves remain green year round.
The flowers will be more prolific and larger if more water and compost are added in summer.
Allow the plant to rest in winter.
Keep well mulched.
Cut off dead leaves and flower stalks to keep tidy – avoid pulling them out as it could damage the plant.
LANDSCAPING USES
A versatile plant which can be planted at the edge of ponds, in marshy areas and stream banks.
The plant is used extensively in flower arrangements so will make a wonderful addition to a cut flower garden.
GARDEN THEMES
Bushveld, Forest, Formal, Tropical, Water, Woodland
FLOWERS
The minute flowers are arranged in a complex spiral pattern on a finger-like spine (spadix). The flowers are arranged with the male flower on the top section of the spadix, and the female flowers on the lower third. The spadix is creamy white and matures to bright yellow. The spine is shielded by a white spathe which appears to be the flower but is not.
FOLIAGE
The large arrow or heart-shaped leaves vary in size depending on the growing conditions. They can be as much as 40cm long and 25cm wide. They are mid- to dark-green with a central vein and an entire margin.

The leaves contain water stomata which can discharge excess water, by a process known as “guttation”. This prevents water-logging and enables arum lilies to grow in wet conditions.
FRUIT
The green fruit capsules form at the base of the spadix (where the female flowers are positioned). The aging spathe turns green and curls up to shield the fruit. As the fruit matures, the spathe dries to reveal succulent yellow berries which entice birds which assist with the seed dispersal.
SEED
The seed capsules each contain approximately 20 flat white seeds.
BUTTERFLY/MOTH HOST PLANT
As this is a larval host plant to Macroglossum stellatarum (Hummingbird Hawk-moth) caterpillar, you’ll notice that the caterpillars may eat the entire plant. The tuber, however, survives and the plant will recover in the following season.
PESTS & DISEASES
In December, Arum Lilies may be attacked by the brown Christmas Beetles that feed on the foliage at night. Rather then apply poisons, a few rounds on night-duty to hand pick them will protect your arums.
Arums are particularly susceptible to bulb rot caused by a fungus. Fungal infections are common when plants get too much water in hot weather and the soil compacts. To solve the problem, cut back all foliage and flower stalks, leaving 10cm above the ground. Remove the bulbs and work compost into the soil before replanting the bulbs. Water the plants lightly with a fungicide solution. Repeat the treatment after 7 weeks.
CULTIVATION
Easily propagated from seed or by lifting and dividing the clumps from November to February.
CAUTION
These plants are poisonous if chewed or eaten raw.

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