Common Name
Cala lily, arum lily, pig lily, lirio calla
Botanic Name
Zantedeschia aethiopica ( 6 species)
Plant Family
Indigenous to East and South Africa, there are some 6 species that have been hybridized.
Common house and garden plants
Animals Affected
Dogs and cats
Cala Lily
Toxic Principle
Cala lilies like other members of the Araceae contain oxalate crystals in the stems and leaves. The calcium oxalate crystals (raphides) are contained in specialized cells referred to as idioblasts. Raphides are long needle-like crystals bunched together in these specialized cells, and when the plant tissue is chewed by an animal, the crystals are extruded into the mouth and mucous membranes of the unfortunate animal. The raphides once embedded in the mucous membranes of the mouth cause intense irritation and inflammation. Evidence exists to suggest that the oxalate crystals act as a means for introducing other toxic compounds from the plant such as prostaglandins, histamine, and proteolytic enzymes that mediate the inflammatory response.
Leaves are glossy green, leathery, lanceolate to heart-shaped, with long petioles that are sheathing at the base. The leaf blade margins are often undulating and in some species, white markings are present on the leaves. The fluorescence is a showy white, yellow or pink spathe, shaped like a funnel with a central yellow spadix. Hybrids of the species have been developed that have spathes, ranging in color from yellow red to purple. The fruits are yellow or red berries.
Excessive salivation, and even vomiting. The painful swelling in the mouth may prevent the animal from eating for several days.
Treatment is seldom necessary unless excessive salivation and diarrhea has led to dehydration.
Ocular System
Conjunctivitis may result, if plant juices get into the eyes.
Special Notes
Risk Assessment Zantedeschia species are frequently grown as potted house plants for their showy flowers and foliage and consequently, household pets have access to the plants. Unless a household pet is a particular plant eater, poisoning from these plants is rare. References 1.Lin T-J et al: Calcium oxalate is the main toxic component clinical presentations of Alocasia macrorrhiza poisonings. Vet Hum Toxicol 1998,14: 93-95, 1998 2.Franceschi VR, Horner HT: Calcium oxalate crystals in plants. Bot Rev 1980, 46: 361-427. 3.Genua JM, Hillson CJ: The occurrence, type, and location of calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves of 14 species of Araceae. Ann Bot 56: 351-361, 1985.
Cala Lily
Cala Lily