Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

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

Family Cannaceae
Region of origin


Common Name

Indian shot

Name in the Camden Park Record

Canna Indica 

Confidence level high