Cannas are very popular in New Zealand as they are very easy to grow and need little maintenance.
Canna (or canna lily, although not a true lily) is a genus of 19 species of flowering plants. The closest living relations to cannas are the other plant families of the order Zingiberales, that is the Zingiberaceae (gingers), Musaceae (bananas), Marantaceae, Heliconiaceae,Strelitziaceae, etc.
The species have large, attractive foliage, and horticulturists have turned it into a large-flowered and bright garden plant. In addition, it is one of the world’s richest starch sources, and is an agricultural plant.
Although a plant of the tropics, most cultivars have been developed in temperate climates and are easy to grow in most countries of the world as long as they receive at least 6–8 hours average sunlight during the summer, and are moved to a warm location for the winter. See the Canna cultivar gallery for photographs of Canna cultivars.
As I am researching about the flowers I am finding out how floral plants are not just decorative, but useful as well.
- Some species and many cultivars are widely grown in the garden in temperate and subtropical regions. Sometimes, they are also grown as potted plants. A large number of ornamental cultivars have been developed. They can be used in herbaceous borders, tropical plantings, and as a patio or decking plant.
- Internationally, cannas are one of the most popular garden plants and a large horticultural industry depends on the plant.
- The rhizomes of cannas are rich in starch, and it has many uses in agriculture. All of the plant has commercial value, rhizomes for starch (consumption by humans and livestock), stems and foliage for animal fodder, young shoots as a vegetable, and young seeds as an addition to tortillas.
- The seeds are used as beads in jewelry.
- The seeds are used as the mobile elements of the kayamb, a musical instrument from Réunion, as well as the hosho, a gourd rattlefrom Zimbabwe, where the seeds are known as hota seeds.
- In more remote regions of India, cannas are fermented to produce alcohol.
- The plant yields a fibre from the stem, which is used as a jute substitute.
- A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making paper. The leaves are harvested in late summer after the plant has flowered, they are scraped to remove the outer skin, and are then soaked in water for two hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 24 hours with lye and then beaten in a blender. They make a light tan brown paper.
- A purple dye is obtained from the seed.
- Smoke from the burning leaves is said to be insecticidal.
- Cannas are used to extract many undesirable pollutants in a wetland environment as they have a high tolerance tocontaminants.
- In Thailand, cannas are a traditional gift for Father’s Day.
- In Vietnam, canna starch is used to make cellophane noodles known as miến dong.
- The leaves are very colourful as well. I love how the colours really stand out in the sun.
- Thanks for visiting.