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Canna Lilies Vs. Calla Lilies

Updated July 19, 2017

Though their names are similar, canna lilies and calla lilies are very different plants. The canna lily (also known as "canna") belongs to the Cannaecae family while the calla lily belongs to the herbaceous flowering Aracae family. One of the only similarities between the canna lily and calla lily is they are not true lilies.

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Botanical Name

The botanical name of the canna lily is Canna x generalis. The botanical name of the calla lily is Zantedeschia aethiopica.


Canna lilies are native to Central and South America and southeastern United States. Calla lilies are native to southern and eastern Africa.


Canna lilies resemble a banana tree with brightly coloured flowers. Calla lilies have spear-shaped leaves with a brightly coloured spathe surrounding a spadix.


Canna lilies are a great plant for wet areas. They are widely found and used in water features. Calla lilies are also used in water features, but are regularly found in floral arrangements and wedding bouquets.


Calla lilies are poisonous if eaten and contact with its sap can cause skin irritation.

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About the Author

Based in Tampa, Florida, Kirstie Thornton has been writing about parenting related issues for 2 years. She writes for Examiner.com as the Tampa Parenting Examiner. Thornton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in international affairs from Florida State University.

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