Black Calla Lily

Arum palaestinum

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arum (AIR-um) (Info)
Species: palaestinum (pal-ay-STY-num) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Arcata, California

Benicia, California

Cambria, California

Canoga Park, California

Castro Valley, California

Clearlake, California

Davis, California

Fullerton, California

Los Angeles, California

Oakland, California

Oceanside, California

Pacific Grove, California

Petaluma, California

San Mateo, California

Saint Augustine, Florida

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 13, 2021, Latchhooker from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

The bloom is striking and the malodor isn't strong outdoors, but as a cut flower, you'll be sorry you brought it into your home. Does great in my yard with absolutely no care. I let it seed each year, let the leaves dry out and it returns every year even during drought years. Much more drought tolerant than my call lilies.


On Mar 12, 2017, EmDee2017 from Benicia, CA wrote:

I have had a couple calla lily volunteer plants in my yard for several years. This year a new, dark purple bloom came up and has been identified as arum palaestinum. Apparently, it is suppose to "stink"? I haven't noticed any smell but it hasn't completely opened up yet. Also there is supposedly some toxicity associated with this plant. My dog doesn't eat plants, generally, should I be concerned about keeping her away from this?


On Jul 1, 2013, johnfbrady from Pacific Grove, CA wrote:

love them. random appearances . very exotic, mine bloomed in
March, short lived. however,they now have corncob type seeds
will see what happens. advice ?


On May 16, 2010, OaklandDoug from Oakland, CA wrote:

I found this plant growing at the side of an apartment building my family bought about 20 years ago. They're mixed in with white callas and are very prolific. I had to dig up most of them a couple of years ago to do some work on the foundation, but I just replanted the tubers and they're even more prolific than before. I can't really detect an odor unless I cut one and put it in a vase, then the smell is cloying sweet.. I suspect that the scent is to attract insects to enter the calix. There are spikes at the base of the anther that would prevent an insect from escaping once in enters. A very exotic plant, but they only bloom for about 3 or 4 weeks in early spring and the flowers only last for about 3 days, whether you leave them on the stalk or cut them.


On Mar 21, 2007, Aazhie from Arcata, CA wrote:

Really great plants!! I had two Dracunculus bloom a season before these showed up. I had to emergency transplant three plants when I put in a path a few days ago, will see if they survive. These survived frosts and mild winters well and seem to be very prolific, attracting small gnats and flies occasionally, but with little or no noticable smell. I have no idea where they came from, but I love them very much. They are beautiful and exotic and seem to be fairly hardy. I am interested in trading these bulbs for other aroids, especially any corpse flowers that do well in cooler climates.


On May 22, 2004, pattibrockman from Clarkston, WA wrote:

I discovered a single plant in a neighbors yard and took it to a local nursery. Several people said that they too have them groing in their yards but never planted them. I am assuming that the berries are edible and have been carried by birds to these locations. My reading on this plant is not supporting that they should exist in this area. I live in Washington state in what is considered to be zone 5, our soil is mostly sand and water is light. Most delightful flower and no smell as of yet. Winters here can be very cold but not much snow.


On Mar 29, 2004, gopher wrote:

We bought a house in August. The previous owner had a number of Great Danes. The dogs destroyed what was probably a beautiful yard at one time. For months we worked and watered...suddenly in the flower bed I have beautiful deep purple lillies. They bloomed the first week in March.
More leaves are filling the bed, I hope to continue enjoying these beautiful velvet blooms. They are growing in a shady north facing wall.


On Feb 23, 2004, kauaitaro from Oceanside, CA wrote:

We have had great success by ignoring this plant altogether. It has grown in mass about three times in size in three years. It was planted by the orginal owners of our home. This year we noticed new leafs emerging about four feet away from the main body. We assume that it is from runners. ALso the smell of the flowers seems to change. First year smelled very strongly of decay. This year almost no scent at all. Has anybody divided with success?


On Mar 25, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a very unusual-looking flower. I have sniffed them on purpose and have never detected any odor. The plant in my picture is growing in full sun and the flowers look more red than those grown in more shade. The flowers last longer in the shade. It is a no-brainer plant to grow in this climate (zone 10, inland southern California) but is not invasive. It doesn't mind water in the dormant season (summer and fall).


On Mar 10, 2003, ellencel wrote:

This gorgeous plant has been popping up everywhere in my east bay yard since at least the early 1950's. The velvety purply black spike and inner lining of the bract are a stunning contrast to the succulent vivid green of the 8-12 inch leaves. Unlike some these to do not seem to give off a bad cat pee like odor as is sometimes described. They seem to have begun blooming about the first of march this year and havent yet come out in their full glory.


On Feb 21, 2003, KG6EE from Scotts Valley, CA wrote:

My Black Calla appeared three years ago in the middle of a large bed of White Callas.
The Flower is almost as large as the White's. After about a week in sunlight, highlights
fade to dark Purple. It only blooms in Feb. Usually has only 4 flowers. Hight is over 30"
It has no odor, or berries. Location is in the Bay Area, South of San Francisco, on the Coast.
Bloom lasts aboyt 14 days.


On Sep 24, 2002, NarimasuDragon from Petaluma, CA wrote:

Single vertical spathe unfurls to display deep purple/black spadix up to 10" long lasting only a few days, attracting fruit flies with its essence of rotting fruit. Seed cluster develops at spadix end, with corn-like kernels turning orange-red by mid-summer. Highly uncommon in this area north of SF Bay, California.