Happy Halloween Lilies

For a friends Halloween themed birthday this year I dressed up as an Arum Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica). It was probably the most Lady Gaga I have ever felt. My plans changed at the last minute and I had to find a costume. I ended up choosing this and making it out of a yellow dress and some paper that I had lying around.

This species of Lily grows naturally in Southern Africa but has been introduced to Australia (particularly Western Australia). It was used as a garden ornamental plant and grows in wetter areas and urban gardens.

Photographed in garden at Newton Johnson Winery in South Africa. Source: http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/zantedeschia-aethiopica-arum-lily

This species was described by Carl Von Linne and revised by Spreng. It belongs to the family Araceae which are flowering monocots which have a large group of flowers on a spadix (shown in costume and image as yellow). The spadix is surrounded by a modified leaf called a Spathe (white in costume and image). The upper part of the spadix is male flowers and the lower part being female flowers.

Photo on 31-10-15 at 7.46 PM
My Calla Lily outfit. Many people thought that I was an egg.

The Family Araceae include some of the largest and most unique flowers. The Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) grows from an underground tuber and the inflorescence can reach 3m high. The tuber itself is the largest in the plant kingdom and can be up to 70kg. It produces a foul odour (one of the strongest in the world) when it flowers. This species if native to the steep hilly forests of Indonesia.  The male and female flowers on the spadix are protected on the lower section by the spathe. It is suggested that carrion beetles pollinate the flowers, but this has never been verified.

Corpse Flower, Kew
Corpse Flower, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Source: http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/amorphophallus-titanum-titan-arum

References:  Royal Botanic Gardens Kew


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