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The Symbolism of Flowers

The Calla Lily, a symbol of rebirth and union

Calla Lily

Latin name: Zantadeschia
Availability: All year
Colours: White


The Calla Lily is a flower which invoques elegance and a modern sense of aesthetic. Contrary to popular beliefs, the coloured tube that makes calla lillies so recognisable is not its flower! In fact, it is its bract and its flower is much smaller and inside of the plant, on its pistil. A bract is a modified leaf used to protect a flower’s reproductive system, and is very different from the leaves around the stem.

Planted callas are particularly well adapted to sobre environment, and don’t need a lot of light. They appreciate more humid spaces, a bathroom, for example.

They originated in South Africa, and were popularised in Europe in the XVIIth century, when the italian botanist Giovanni Zantedesci imported them and gave them their latin name.

The Calla Lily is associated with many symbols since the Greek Antiquity. Because of its shape, reminiscent of a chalice, ancient Greeks and Romans attributed festive qualities to them. Nowadays, they are more symbolic of purity, sympathy, beauty, rebirth and union. They are thereore appropriate for any occasion, whether it’s a sophisticated wedding bouquet, ou sincere condolences.

The calla lily’s common name comes from the greek calla, which means beauty. A story from greek mytholgy is aslo associated. according to legend, Zeus brought Hercules, his illegitimate child, in front of Hera, his wife, while she was sleeping so he could drink her milk. When she woke up, she pusehd the baby away and a few drops of her milk fell in the sky to create the Milky Way. The few that fell on Earth created the Calla Lillies. When Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, saw them for the first time, she was instantly filled with jealousy because of the attention they were receiving. She cursed them forevermore by placing a big yellow pistil in their center.

However, greek mythology is not the only culture that incorporated the Calla Lily in their beliefs. In fact, this flower is often included in representations of the Virgin Mary as a symbol of purity, sanctity and faith. They are also associated with the resurrection of Christ, as they bloom around Easter and have a shape resembling a trumpet, which is reminiscent of the triumph of the christian Good News.

The Calla Lily comes in multiple sizes and colors, including white, yellow, purple, pink, red and black.

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