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Calla Lily Flower: Its Meanings & Symbolism

20-01-2016

Most flowers given as gifts are cut from the trees or plants producing them. With a limited lifespan, these cut flowers work well as short-lived symbols but quickly fade away and die. The Calla Lily is a flower both cut and used in bouquets and given as a living potted plant gift. Find out what message you’re sending when you use this plant as a symbol.

This flower is not technically part of the real lily family. Instead, it’s a different type of flower with a bloom similar to other true lilies. The most common meanings of this bloom include

  • Magnificent and overwhelming beauty, in the classic Victorian language of the flowers and the Ancient Greek tradition
  • Resurrection and rebirth, since the plant returns each year after the winter
  • Faith and purity, especially in the Christian religions
  • Overcoming challenges, since the cut flowers can start regrowing in a vase and survive frosts
  • The liveliness and innocence of youth.

The Calla lily is also called a trumpet, pig, or arum lily. However, it is a member of the Araceae group that includes the philodendron. This means it’s not related to the other Calla flowers either. The plant’s official scientific name is Zantedeschia aethiopica because it originates in South Africa and the surrounding countries

Most people first encounter this flower when decorating for Easter or choosing a live plant to send as a gift for the holiday. It’s also used around Christmas as well, when hothouse specimens are available. This striking flower symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus to many people, or just rebirth in a more general sense. Due to the white and waxy blooms poking out of the dark foliage, this flower has earned a connection to innocence and purity too. It’s only natural that it’s connected with youth as well.

Aside from the classic white varieties, there are many distinctive colored types too. Different color meaning options include

  • Bright yellow and orange for representing joy, growth, and change
  • Lavender and light blue to convey a sense of grace and refined beauty to the recipient of your gift
  • Dark purple for royalty and strength
  • Pink for admiration and flirting, while dark red means passion and intensity.

The Calla lily is not used medicinal because all parts of the plant are poisonous. You should only use these tough plants for beautifying the landscape, brightening up a water garden, or rounding out a bouquet.

Calla lilies make appropriate gifts for many religious holidays due to the associations with the Virgin Mary and Jesus. Aside from those occasions, consider giving the gift of the flowers for the birth of a new baby or a child’s birthday. You can also try celebrating a loved one’s success at work with a bunch of orange or yellow blooms.

The Calla Lily flower’s message is to focus on the beauty around you, and remember that it will return even if it disappears for a season. Hold onto your innocence and grace as you move through the world and conquer your challenges.