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Canna indica L. (Edible Canna)

Family Name: Cannaceae
Synonyms: Canna edulis
Common Name: Tous les Mois, Queensland Arrowroot, Achira, Indian Shot, 食用美人蕉
Full Sun: 6-8h Lots of Water Fruit & Vegetable Herb & Spice Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Foliage Aquatic &Hydrophyte


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
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Name Status (botanical)
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Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Waterside / Marginal)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1.2 m to 3 m


Native Distribution Central America, South America
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Herbaceous shrub, up to 3m tall when grown in ground. Stems purplish-green, succulent, arising from thick underground potato-llke rhizomes.Leaves dark green, oblong, 40 - 70cm long. Flowers bright red above, yellow with red spots at base, produced in simple or branched spike inflorescences. "Petals" are actually petaloid false-stamens (staminodia). Fruits are globose explosive capsules covered by soft spines. Seeds black, with hard testa (seed coat).Suitable for flowerbeds and borders. Withstands wet soils. Propagate by clump division, rhizomes or seeds. Seeds should be scarified and soaked in water before sowing, germinate in 3 - 9 weeks.Genus epithet 'Canna' derived from Greek term for a type of reed. Species epithet 'edulis' means 'edible', referring to the starchy rhizomes.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Roots)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Young root is eaten cooked.;Herb and Spice)
[Others]: Rhizomes are source of 'Canna Starch', edible (with sweetish flavour) when boiled or baked. Can be ground into flour to make cakes. Known as Queensland Arrowroot, because Australia used to import large quantities of rhizomes for starch production. Immature seeds used in tortillas. Decoction of roots and fermented rice used to treat gonorrhoea and amenorrhoea. Purple dye obtained from seeds. Leaf fibres can be used to make a light brown paper. Smoke from burning leaves said to be insecticidal.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General, Flowerbed / Border, Swimming Poolside, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden, Economic Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Thick
Young Flush Texture(s) Rough
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Red
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal

Image Repository



Master ID 20675
Species ID 3352
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: 14 October 2021.