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CALLA LiLy (Zantedeschia)

The immaculate spathes and decorative leaves of callas have long made these members of the aroid tribe favorites for the house. What is generally regarded as the flower is really a modified leaf or spathe. The small flowers are borne on the club-like appendage (spadix) which arises from the center of the spathe. Two types of flowers are grouped about each spadix; pollen-bearing male flowers on the upper half, and female on the lower. The large leaves are often embellished with translucent spots, and are useful in flower arrangements with other cut flowers, as well as with callas.

Tubers are available in late summer or early fall. Plant 1 to each 6-inch pot, or several together in a larger container. Rich and well drained soil is essential for proper development. A good potting mixture consists of equal parts of loam, leaf mold, and old cow manure, together with some sand and a generous sprinkling of bone meal. Allow the neck of the tuber to extend above the soil. Place the pot in a cool, almost dark place and water sparingly for several weeks until the plants are started. Then light, a warm place, and abundant moisture are provided. Manure water may be applied every two weeks for rich foliage and larger spathes. Rest and dry the tubers after flowering; re-pot the next fall.

The following varieties are obtainable; they all have good points. Why not try at least two of them?

Zantedeschia aethiopica {short description of image} the familiar white calla so often seen at florists.
Zantedeschia dbo-maculata   pale cream spathes, crimson at the base. Leaves are covered with translucent white spots.
Zantedeschia devonienst . s   snow-white and very floriferous.
Zantedeschia elliottiana   the yellow calla. Golden spathes which last for two weeks.
Zantedeschia   Mrs. Roosevelt amber-tipped, white spathes and spotted leaves.
Zantedeschia rehmanni   a small pink calla of unusual charm.

In addition to such familiar plants as water arum, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and skunk cabbage, the aroids embrace fleshy, tropical species which attain tremendous proportions and diffuse impressive skatolic odors. Amorphophallus titanum' a native of Sumatra, is an example of these weird relatives of the lovely calla. It grows from a cheese-like tuber which eventually reaches a circumference of 4 or 5 feet. The spadix reaches to 6 feet and is enveloped within a fringed spathe 3 or 4 feet in diameter. The mass of vegetation lasts for but a brief time-then wilts to the ground, a mound of brown putresence. Later, the tuber sends forth a mottled, io-foot stalk from which grow leaves 30 to 45 feet in circumference.

A smaller and less offensive aroid, Hydrosme rivieri (some-times called Amorphophdlus rivieri or devil's-tongue), is grown in the house and garden for its umbrella-like foliage and handsome, mottled stem. It has an unattractive dark red spathe about 3 feet long.

Another aroid, sometimes grown in the house but more often out of doors, is the dragon arum or green-dragon (Dracunculus vulgaris). Its large spathe is red-purple and the spadix is blue-black. Interesting as a curiosity but not for fragrance.