Canna Lily Facts
- Canna Lily serves as the collective name of any one of the flowering plants in a single genus. Currently, nineteen species have been classified in this genus.
- Despite the name, this rather beautiful plant does not represent a true lily. Actually, its closest relatives include the gingers and bananas.
- It was cultivated by Native Americans for centuries and was one of the earliest domesticated plants in the region because the starchy root is also edible.
- Sadly, many of the varieties of this remarkable beauty now face threats. These primarily consist of habitat loss and climate change, like many species.
Canna Lily Physical Description
Given the sheer number of different species of Canna Lily, physical characteristics vary widely. However, some traits remain consistent between them.
All nineteen varieties live as either large tropical or subtropical perennial herbs. The leaves develop broad and flat, and grow out of a stem in a long narrow roll and then unfurl.
The leaves and stems of the plants typically display a solid green color, yet sometimes show either maroon, brownish, or even variegated in color.
The flowers typically appear as either orange, red or yellow. In the wild, some types of Canna Lily grow to a height of as much as 9.8 ft (3 m).
Canna Lily Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Canna Lily genus evolved as native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of both Americas. This also includes the southern United States (South Carolina to Texas) and as deep into South America as parts of Argentina.
The genus now exists throughout much of the world, due to international commerce.
It thrives in most warm climates, as long as it acquires at least 6-8 hours of sunlight.
Many uses exist for this plant in different parts of the world. Some uses of the Canna Lily include using the seeds in jewelry.
Others include fermenting the petals to make an alcoholic beverage, producing a purple dye, and even using smoke from the burning plant as an insecticide.