Canna indica L.

Half-hardy, rhizomatous perennial with usually lance-shaped green to bronze-tinted leaves and panicles of bright red or soft orange flowers in summer and autumn.  To 2.2m.  Paxton’s Dictionary lists the variety maculata, with red and yellow flowers.  [RHSE, Hortus]. 

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The Canna indica, a native of both the Indies, is a plant greatly admired for the beauty of its foliage and flowers, and on that account generally cultivated; it has been called by some Indian shot, from the roundness and hardness of its seeds.  We find it to have existed in our gardens in the time of Gerard, 1596.’  [BM t.454/1799]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.58/1843]. 


Canna indica Curt. (1799) = C. indica L. var. patens Ait. which see.

Canna indica DC. (1804) = Canna speciosa Herb. ex Sims

Canna indica Ruiz & Pav. (1820) = Canna edulis Ker-Gawl.

Canna edulis Ker-Gawl. may be Macarthur’s plant but it is perhaps more likely to be the Canna indica of Ruiz & Pavon.  The common name ‘Arrowroot’ given to Canna edulis derives from the roots being used as a starch-rich food source, much like Maranta species.  [See Maranta species].  ‘The plant is much cultivated in Peru by the natives of Achira; and the root dressed in various ways as food.’  [BR f.775/1824].  ‘This very fine species of Canna [edulis], was raised by Mr. Lambert, at Boyton, from seeds gathered in Peru, near thirty years before they were sown.  Pavon’s own specimen of Canna indica […] proves it to be this species, and not the the indica of Linnaeus, from which, indeed, its tuberous esculent roots are alone sufficient to distinguish it.’  [BM t.2498/1824].  Canna edulis is considered by some to be a form of Canna indica L. 

Published Jan 18, 2009 - 01:08 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 01:43 PM

The image depicts flowering stem, leaves and seed pods, the flowers red and yellow.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.454, 1799.

Canna indica L. | BM t.454/1799 | BHL

More details about Canna indica L.
Family Cannaceae
Region of origin


Common Name

Indian shot

Name in the Camden Park Record

Canna Indica 

Confidence level high