Aroideana
Journal of the International Aroid Society, Inc.
Volume 22, Number 1 (1999); Pages 7-9
Calla--An enigmatic aroid taxon and its etymological
By Helmut Genaust    
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ABSTRACT:

Until the present time, the genus Calla, described and introduced by Linnaeus in 1753, is believed, for the majority of both botanists and linguists, to be derived from a Latin plant name calla, presumably attested in the Natural History of Pliny the Elder and meaning the arum lily, water arum, or wild calla (Calla palustris). This word should take its origin and signification from ancient Greek kallaia 'cock's wattles' or more likely, from Greek kallos 'beauty', as if this Mediterranean member of the arum family would exhibit an outstanding degree of beauty, be the embodiment of splendor and magnificence that we, the friends and freaks of the Araceae, admire in so many kinds of this plant family. That this cannot be reasonably accepted, may be clearly demonstrated as well from the botanic as from the linguistic point of view.

   

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