Calla palustris (Wild Calla)

Plant Info
Also known as: Water Arum
Family:Araceae (Arum)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; bogs, swamps, wet ditches, shallow water
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:6 to 16 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: spike

[photo of flower] A single cylindric spike (spadix), sheathed by a smooth, waxy, oval petal-like spathe, at the end of a stout stem arising 3 to 12 inches above the waterline. The spathe is broadly oval to elliptic, creamy white, 1 to 3 inches long and about 1 inch wide. The spadix is up to 1 inch long and studded with petal-less flowers, creamy white stamens surrounding a conical green pistil.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are also waxy smooth, heart-shaped, 2 to 4 inches long, basal lobes and edges curling inward. Leaf stalk is stout, 4 to 16 inches long, sheathed at base, usually taller than the flowers.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a pear-shaped berry to ½ inch long that ripens to bright red.


Wild Calla is common in more acidic, shallow water and bogs in the NE third of Minnesota. We spotted a colony growing in a wet ditch along a highway in Aitkin county, among other places.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at several locations in central Aitkin county.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mathew - minneapolis
on: 2014-08-13 16:55:06

It is very common in the Quaking Bog at Theodore Wirth Park

Posted by: Lauri - Deerwood Minnesota
on: 2015-05-31 07:06:43

I just took photos of them in a bog just outside of Deerwood before the NoKay Lake turn.......hundreds of them. 5-29-15

Posted by: kristine - lake bemidji
on: 2015-06-27 13:47:40

yes by lake bemidji and in white earth state forest.

Posted by: Annie H - Hibbing Minnesota
on: 2016-05-26 20:34:41

My back yard connects to woods, it is growing there, under the canopy. Very wet soil. Also has wild grape, virginia creeper, dogwood, conifers, birch, etc, fern, raspberry etc. Common

Posted by: Tom - Isanti County
on: 2016-06-15 21:31:30

Wild calla was abundant in a boggy, tamarack swamp as was poisonous sumac. I also found a patch of labrador tea. . . seems quite far south for a record in Minnesota.

Posted by: Donna - Circle Pines
on: 2017-05-20 16:15:49

Growing in wet, boggy area near the Centennial Library walking path. Also many ferns, jack-in-the pulpits and honeysuckle.

Posted by: luciearl - Lake Shore, MN
on: 2017-05-25 18:23:20

Along Cty Rd 77. Tearing up wetlands for road/trail upgrade. Many visible after so much vegetation gone. Also many Tamaracks.

Posted by: Lynn - Marine on the St. Croix, Mn
on: 2017-09-04 19:00:56

By a creek that flows into St. Criox River.

Posted by: Brad - Saint Cloud
on: 2018-05-15 22:11:06

You will find them where the forest once stood in the soon to be location of the costco center. Hmmm.

Posted by: Nancy - Tamarac NWR, Becker County
on: 2018-05-24 13:40:10

Blooming in full splendor along Hwy 29 in Tamarac NWR today.

Posted by: Brenda B - Garrison MN
on: 2018-06-03 19:58:40

Found a colony of wild calla on a trail. We have lots of trails but only 1 colony found.

Posted by: Marsha Kurka - SHOREVIEW
on: 2018-06-30 13:59:29

Saw several at Boot Lake Scientific and Natural Area in Linwood. In a very boggy area.

Posted by: Gary - Lake County
on: 2018-11-18 16:40:59

In an intermediate fen near Marble Lake but being overtaken by sphagnum. Succumbing to the succession process I suppose.

Posted by: Mary Ann - Wet Lands near Ten Mile Lake South of Walker
on: 2019-06-21 11:15:14

Did not know we had wild Calla Lilies in MN

Posted by: Paul Ryan - Suomi, Itasca County
on: 2020-05-27 19:22:51

Nice colony in bog across cty rd 48 from Boy Lake just North of Grave Lake, Itasca County.

Posted by: Calla Ward Olson - Whisky Lake, Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, Marshall Co
on: 2021-07-11 10:30:43

I noticed this species is not listed as present in Marshall County, MN. I have georeferenced photos of wild calla growing in the black spruce tamarack bog area contained in the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge located in Marshall County, if you want them to verify its presence in this county.

Posted by: Peter Ownbey - Itasca State Park
on: 2023-03-15 13:45:33

This plant is quite common in wet areas around Itasca State Park.

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