Over twenty species of Canna
are native to warm parts of North and South America.
Cannas found in gardens are usually hybrids of these wild species. Canna edulis
is a source of arrowroot starch. Wild canna is native to streamsides and
wetlands of the southeastern U.S. Showy yellow flowers are held at the top of
three to four foot tall stems. Capsules of hard black seeds mature in late
summer and fall flowering. Reportedly, the hard, round seeds of cannas have
been used as beads and in rattles. The
common name, “bird shot,” implies that it may have been used in place of
Light: full sun
Water: best in moist soil, tolerates standing water, somewhat drought tolerant
Soil: moisture is critical, no other special requirements
In north Florida,
wild canna dies down in winter and reappears the following spring. It grows
best in a moist, sunny site but can survive in ordinary garden soil. Wild canna
can spread rapidly in a suitable site.