Arum lily

Stem is smooth and may have purple tinge

Roots with rhizome forming

Long, broad glossy green leaf

New leaf formation

Scientific Name

Zantedeschia aethiopica

Common Names

arum lily, pig lily, calla lily, lily of the nile, Egyptian lily


South and Southeast Africa



Distinguishing Characteristics

This is a robust clump-forming perennial herb which is evergreen. Stem is rhizomatous (having underground stem).

Leaves are shaped like an arrow-head, succulent, long, broad, hairless, leathery and glossy green to dull blue green. The petiole or stalk can be up to 1 m long with a smooth margin and prominent wavy midrib. The end tip of the leaf curls towards the back of the leaf.

Flowers are actually clustered, small and golden within the large and showy funnel-like white bracts. Bracts are furled around the golden spikes.

Fruit is an irregularly globose berry with orange-yellow colour when ripe. 

All parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten.

This plant spreads from seed and vegetatively. It spreads quickly in wet areas as water will disperse the seed. Flower spikes should be removed and bagged. Plants should be either dug up or can be sprayed with glyphosate and surfactant if the area is dry and there is no danger of impacting on the water source or frog habitat.


Other plants easily confused with this plant

Cunjevoi also known as elephant´┐Żs ears or spoon lily -  Alocasia brisbanensis - native of rain forest margins in coastal NSW and Queensland - flowers in early summer - stems are purplish brown to green - the bract or spathe of the flower furls for lower third around a spike-like inflorescense and is usually green.

Sources & References

"Gardener's Companion to Weeds" by Suzanne Ermert and Leigh Clapp

"Southern Weeds and their control" by John Moore and Judy Wheeler

"Weeds - an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia" by B. A. Auld and R. W. Medd

"Plantnet FloraOnline"

Prepared and checked by IEWF, 2012