It’s a big weekend coming up for Calla lilies: Easter lilies, along with Easter bunnies and Easter eggs and Easter chicks, have become emblematic of the holiday and of the season of spring. Although the Calla lily is not a true lily—it’s part of the Araceae family, native to southern Africa—its characteristic pure white spathe (the petal-like cup of the flower) and yellow spadix (the stem at the center of what is actually an inflorescence of many flowers) give this flower its classic look. Jonathan Singer’s Calla lily, from his gorgeous collection Botanica Magnifica, published by Abbeville Press (and now newly available in a Tiny Folio edition!), is a perfect example of the natural elegance of this spring flower.
Of course, Calla lilies aren’t just for Easter. The thick stem allows for almost-sculptural arrangement by floral artists. In his informative text in Botanica Magnifica, Marc Hachadourian, manager of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections of the New York Botanic Garden, writes on the Calla lily: “The calla lily’s pristine white blooms, symbolic of purity, have long been favorites of both artists and gardeners. Calla lilies were once favored cut flowers for vase arrangements and bridal bouquets and are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity. In their native South Africa they are still collected by the thousands by locals and sold on the streets of Cape Town during their peak season of bloom in spring.”
Singer’s images in Botanica Magnifica capture the essence of each flower he photographs, and many other spring varieties are represented in his breathtaking collection: the Easter orchid, the Resurrection lily, the Tulipa ‘Swan Wings,’ and of course the Iris ‘Jean-Marie’ that enchanted us with its grace last week are a few of the many spectacular subjects that Singer—always with his unmistakable style—shares with us. In the spirit of renewal that these images inspire, may your weekend be full of joy with family, flowers, and with the celebration of spring.