Canna indica: Indian shot

Family: Cannaceae
Common name: Indian shot, Edible canna

The flaming bright colors of Canna are a beautiful addition to any garden. These sturdy plants can reach a height of 2 meters, the bases of the leaves forming pseudo-stems. Their wide, dark-green leaves resemble those of Lily plants, and are quite ornamental themselves. Flowers vary in color from yellow, orange, red and pink – asymmetrical and resplendent. They also produce thick, hard seeds which look like gun pellets, thus giving the plant the name, ‘Indian shot’. The seeds are used in making jewelry and also rattles because of their hard texture.

The rhizomes are a rich source of starch and is sometimes used for making arrowroot powder. Since the starch is easily digestible, it’s used as a food for babies and for the convalescent. The leaves are used to wrap things just like banana leaves, and also as livestock fodder. The rhizomes can also be grated and eaten raw. Canna needs good sunlight and a well-drained soil.

Propagation is from root bulbs, or from seeds soaked in water for 2-3 days.

Photo Courtesy:, Sindhu Menon

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