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This is an old fashioned, but very rewarding garden plant. Zantedeschia is named after Professor Zantedeschi, probably Giovanni Zantedeschi, 1773-1846, an Italian physician and botanist. The flowers are faintly scented and this attracts various crawling insects and bees which are responsible for pollinating the flowers. The spathe turns green after flowering and covers the ripening berries. It rots away when these are ripe and the succulent yellow berries attract birds, which are responsible for seed dispersal. The rhizome is large and eaten by wild pigs and porcupines and the ripe fruit enjoyed by birds. Raw plant material causes swelling of the throat because of microscopic, sharp calcium oxalate crystals. The leaves are used as a poultice and a treatment for headaches. May be used as a marginal plant along streams, or on the edge of a pond. Plant in partial shade if there is no permanent water. It can be planted as a foliage plant in deep shade under trees but will not flower well in this position. It is fast growing and likes very rich, well-drained conditions. It is an excellent cutflower and lasts a long time in water. Nowadays there are other forms of this species which will enliven an old theme. There is also an attractive form with leaves spotted white. Requires consistently moist soil.
Leaves have a strong citrusy aroma when crushed. Makes a good container specimen or bonsai.
This species is distributed from southeastern Viet Nam to the south of high central Viet Nam and extends to the eastern parts of Cambodia. Though rather common in southeastern Viet Nam, this species has only recently been described. The species is listed as Vulnerable. Species Authority: Mood and Theilade. In Pham (2003) this species is misidentified as Zingiber acuminatum.
The foliage is stunning. Its really a show stopper in the yard. Grows in shady places in evergreen to semi-evergreen forest undergrowth. Usually found as single plants, but rarely forming large clumps.