E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Calla palustris L.
wild calla (water arum)
Araceae (Arum family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25372)

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Distribution of Calla palustris
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Species Information

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Perennial aquatic herb from a long, creeping rhizome; stems solitary, 10-20 cm tall.
All basal, blades egg-shaped to broadly heart-shaped, entire, 5-12 cm long, 4-11 cm wide, long-stalked.
Inflorescence of numerous, densely packed, perfect (or sometimes the upper male) flowers in a cylindric to ellipsoid spike 1-3 cm long, the spike subtended by a bract (spathe) similar to the leaves in shape but white and slightly smaller; perianth absent; ovaries 1-celled.
Berry-like, egg-shaped, red, 5 mm long; seeds 6 to 8.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Swamps, marshes and lakeshores in the montane zone; locally frequent in BC north of 52degreeN and E of the Coast Mountains, rare in SC BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, PA, IN, IL, IA and ND; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Calla palustris

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 420 842 1237
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 1
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
142 141 142
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
7 7 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(2), ICH(3), IDF(1), SBPS(4), SBS(9)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References