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Canna indica L. (Ornamental)

Family Name: Cannaceae
Synonyms: Canna limbata, Canna lutea, Canna compacta
Common Name: Indian Shot, African Arrowroot, Pisang Sebiak, Bunga Tasbih, Daun Tasbih, 美人蕉
Full Sun: 6-8h Lots of Water Ornamental Flowers Aquatic &Hydrophyte Woody Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Herbaceous), Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Waterside / Marginal)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 0.9 m to 1.5 m


Native Distribution Mexico, Caribbean, South America
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Herbaceous shrub, up to 1.5m tall when grown in ground. Leaves light green, 25 - 50cm long, sheathed around main stem arising from underground rhizome. Rhizome thick and branching.Flowers bright red, sometimes with yellowish lip, 4.0 - 4.5cm long, produced in simple or branched spike inflorescences. "Petals" are actually showy petaloid false-stamens (staminodia). Fruits are globose explosive capsules, warty or softly spiny, mature from green to red to black. Seeds spherical, black, covered by very hard woody testa (seed coat), dense and sink in water.Suitable for landscaping flowerbeds and waterside borders. Inflorescences are smaller than most Canna species and hybrids, but plant is relatively free-flowering. Tolerates wet soils. If not grown for seeds, dying flowering stalks can be cut back for neater appearance. Propagate by division of clumps, rhizomes or seeds (should be scarified and soaked in water overnight before sowing). If grown in containers, divide clumps yearly.Similar-looking to the taller Canna indica (Edible Canna) which is differentiated by larger leaves, flowers that are bright red above and red-spotted yellow at the base, and purplish-green stems or stalks.Genus epithet Canna derived from Greek name for a certain type of reed. Species epithet indica refers to India, as Linnaeus (father of modern taxonomy) thought the plant also originated from India. Common name 'Indian Shot' alludes to the black hard seeds, which resemble bullets used in 18th and 19th century shotguns.
Ethnobotanical Uses [Others]: Seeds used as beads for necklaces, earrings and rosaries.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Seeds
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses General, Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden, Naturalistic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Storage Organ
Propagation Method Remarks Rhizomes


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Acaulescent
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Underground (Rhizome)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Size - Remarks 4 - 4.5 cm long, red & sometimes with yellow tip
Inflorescence Type Spike
Ovary Position Inferior / Epipgynous
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 483
Species ID 1779
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.