Family: Araceae

Native to Europe and the Middle East, these perennial, often herbaceous, plants are suitable for moist, shady places such as woodland gardens and shrub borders. They have tuberous root systems and large, showy leaves. The coloured spathes and spadix form rather unusual hooded flowers which are often used for floral decoration.


A. italicum is a tuberous perennial with arrow-shaped leaves, growing to about 45 cm (18 in) high. The leaves are mid to dark green, with white markings. The summer flower is a green to white spathe. This is an ideal plant for shady gardens, although it can become invasive in warm Climates.

A. maculatum, known also in its native Britain as cuckoo pint and lords-and-ladies, is a very vigorous grower.

A. palaestinum, black calla, zone 9, has long-stemmed green leaves and large, velvety, bell-shaped, purplish black flowers which turn pale green inside in spring. This species grows to 1 m (3 ft) in height.


Plant in a humus-rich soil in a shaded spot or in a position receiving only filtered sunlight. Propagate in autumn by division of the tubers or by offsets. It does best in a warm to cool climate.


Zone 6 and above is suitable for most.