Taxonomic name: Canna indica Linnaeus
Synonyms: Canna edulis Ker-Gawl., Canna achiras Gillies, Canna aurantiaca Roscoe, Canna aureovittata Lodd., Canna barbadica Bouché, Canna bidentata Bertol., Canna bifida Schult., Canna carnea Roscoe, Canna cearensis Huber, Canna chinensis Willd., Canna cinnabarina Bouché, Canna coccinea Link, Canna coccinea Mill., Canna coccinea Mill. var. bicolor Kraenzl, Canna coccinea Mill. var. sylvestris (Roscoe) Regel, Canna commutata Bouché, Canna compacta Bouché, Canna compacta Roscoe, Canna crocea Lag. ex Rchb., Canna crocea Roem. & Schult., Canna densifolia Bouché, Canna discolor Lindl., Canna edulis KerGawl., Canna ehrenbergii Bouché, Canna ellipticifolia Stokes, Canna esculenta Lodd. ex Loudon, Canna exigua Bouché, Canna flavescens Link, Canna floribunda Bouché, Canna formosa Bouché, Canna fulgida Bouche, Canna fulgida Bouché, Canna heliconiifolia Bouché var. xalapensis (Bouché) Kraenzl, Canna heliconiifolia Bouché, Canna humilis Bouché, Canna indica L. var. speciosa (Roscoe) Hook.f., Canna indica L. var. coccinea (Mill.) Aiton, Canna indica L. var. edwarsii Regel, Canna indica L. var. limbata (Roscoe) Petersen, Canna indica L. var. maculata Hook., Canna indica L. var. nepalensis (Bouché) Hook.f., Canna indica L. var. patens Aiton, Canna indica L. var. rubra Aiton, Canna laeta Bouché, Canna lagunensis Lindl., Canna lambertii Lindl., Canna lanuginosa Roscoe, Canna leptochila Bouché, Canna limbata Roscoe, Canna lutea Mill., Canna lutea Mill. var. aurantiaca (Roscoe) Regel, Canna lutea Mill. var. genuina Kraenzl., Canna lutea Mill. var. pallida (Roscoe) Regel
Common names: achira (Andes), African arrowroot (English), ali‘ipoe, li‘ipoe (Hawaii), apeellap (Puluwat), bakalele (Hausa-Nigeria), bakare kare (Hausa-Nigeria), Balisier comestible (French), balisier rouge (French), calenda (South America), canna (English), canna lily (English), chupa flor (Spanish), English shot (South America), fa‘i masoa (American Samoa & Samoa), fagafaga (Futuna), fagamanu (American Samoa & Samoa), Fanamanu (Samoa), gasau ni ga (Fiji), gwangwa, gwangwaama, Indian shot (English), luiuenwai (Pohnpei), mongos halum-tano (Guam), nuaenga (Cook Islands), oruuru (Puluwat), pia renga (Cook Islands (Aitutaki)), pia-raroto‘a (French Polynesia), poloka (Hawaii), poloke (Hawaii), Queensland arrowroot (South America), riti (Kiribati), te misimisi (Tonga), tiare papa‘a (Cook Islands (Mangaia)), toolima (South American Creole), tous-les-mois (French)
Organism type: herb
Canna indica is a native of tropical America and is a very popular ornamental plant throughout the tropical world. This plant has become an invasive in Pitcairn and in New Zealand, where it grows in thickets, crowding out other plants. It is spread by rhizomes making it difficult to remove.
Canna indica is an upright perennial rhizomatous herb (Foxcroft and RIchardson, 2003). It is "not usually over 5 ft high; leaves rather fleshy, with thin margins, usually not more than 1 ft. long and half as broad, lanceolate to sub-orbicular, veins arching-parallel. Flowers red, yellow or variegated, showy, the staminodia black, capsular, nearly globose, enclosing a variable number of round, shiny black seeds" (Stone, 1970. In PIER, 2003).
riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, water courses
In Hawai‘i, “naturalised primarily in disturbed mesic to wet forest, 10-610m” (Wagner et al. 1999. In PIER, 2003). In Fiji, “this distinctive plant is naturalised and often frequent around villages, along roadsides, in coconut plantations, in clearings, and in forest near streams, at elevations from near sea level to 450 m” (Smith, 1979. In PIER, 2003).
Grows in thickets, crowding out other plants. It is difficult to remove due to its spread by rhizomes (PIER, 2003).
The plant is used in traditional medicine and the rhizome is used in traditional foods. Seeds are used in jewellery making and the fibre from the leaves is used to make paper. Seeds may have been used in flintlock muskets when lead shot wasn't available. The small BB-like seeds of Indian shot are commonly used in seed bracelets and gold earrings also. (Wayne's Word, 1998)
There are cultivated hybrids of C. indica. There are ten species of Canna to be found in the neotropics (Hiltje Maas., pers.comm., 2005).
Native range: Tropical America.
Known introduced range: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia; may be present on other islands as well, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Yap, Caroline outer islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawai‘i, Kermandec Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Kwajalein, Majuro, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, Palau, Pitcairn Island, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, New Zealand and Christmas Island.
Introduction pathways to new locations
For ornamental purposes: Cannas are popular cultivated flowers in tropical and temperate gardens. (Wayne's Word, 1998)
Local dispersal methods
Garden escape/garden waste: Has thick branching underground rhizomes. (Wayne's Word, 1998)
Propagates by seed and rhizomes, (PIER, 2003).
Reviewed by: Dr. Hitje Mass. Herbarium Division
Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Utrecht. The Netherlands.
Compiled by: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Tuesday, 11 April 2006