Wild calla-Calla palustris-Poisonous plants

Wild calla

General poisoning notes:

Wild calla (Calla palustris) is a native plant that grows in swamps and marshes through much of Canada. Calcium oxalates occur, which can cause severe irritation of the mouth and throat. No cases of livestock poisoning are found in the literature, but the potential for poisoning is present. Humans are also at risk from this plant (Kingsbury 1964, Lampe and McCann 1985).


Rhizome creeping, green, cylindric, to 50 cm, robust, 1-2(-3) cm in diam., somewhat spongy; nodes rooting. Cataphylls lanceolate, to 10 cm, apex acuminate. Petiole green, terete, (6-)12-24 cm (and longer to 30[-40] cm), base sheathing; sheath 7-8(-12) cm, with free ligule; leaf blade green, (4-)6-14 × (4-)6-14 cm; primary veins (8-)10-14(-18), pinnately arching from a strong midvein on each side, intramarginal vein inconspicuous. Peduncle green, terete, 15-30 × 0.8-1.2 cm. Spathe green outside, white inside, (3-)4-6(-8) × 3-3.5(-5) cm, apex with an acumen ca. 1 cm. Spadix 1.5-3 × 0.7-1.5 cm; stipe 5-7 mm. Flowers yellowish green, 2-2.2(-2.5) mm tall. Infructescence (2-)3-5 × (1.5-)2.5-3.5 cm. Berries red, (5-)6-12 × (4-)5-10 mm. Seed brown, 3-5 × ca. 2 mm. Fl. May-Jul, fr. Aug-Sep.


Scientific Name: Calla palustris Linnaeus
Vernacular name(s): wild calla
Scientific family name: Araceae
Vernacular family name: arum

Geographic Information

Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory.

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

All parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation of the mouth and throat (Lampe and McCann 1985).

Toxic parts:

Leaves, rhizome, stems, roots.

Toxic plant chemicals:


Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.



General symptoms of poisoning:

Mouth, irritation of.
Notes on poisoning:
Mouth and throat irritation, accompanied by pain and swelling, occurs upon chewing of plant parts. The insoluble oxalates do not produce systemic poisoning in humans. Washing or heating the rhizome can inactivate the oxalates. In northern Europe the ground rhizome is used as flour for bread (Frohne and Pfander 1983, Lampe and McCann 1985).

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