Canna L.
  • Sp. Pl.: 1 (1753) 

Notes: Distribution: Trop. & Subtrop. America

General Description

Description as for the family.

Rhizomatous, glabrous, large herbs; rhizome either short and tuberous or long-creeping, fleshy, subterranean, horizontal, sympodially branched, with distichous, membranous scales, and cylindrical roots, especially at the base of the shoots, rhizome scales to c. 1.5 cm long. Leaves: lamina large, ovate-elliptic, slightly asymmetric, petiole indistinct, base narrowed into the sheath to rounded, apex obtuse to acute, often shortly acuminate and/or ending in a filiform thread. Inflorescence sympodially branched or simple, with 1- or 2-flowered cincinni; primary bracts placed on the rachis at each node, basally completely enclosing the rachis, apically often ending in a filiform thread; branch bracts 2 at each branching point, placed at the base of the secondary rachis and both basally partially enclosing that rachis: one 2-keeled and placed between the rachis and the branch, apex sometimes ending in a short filiform thread; floral bracts spirally arranged on the branches, each subtending a cincinnus; bracteoles placed on the pedicel, each subtending one flower. Flowers red, orange, yellow, purple, or white, generally erect; sepals erect, narrowly triangular to narrowly obovate, acute to obtuse, persistent; petals mostly erect, narrowly ovate-triangular, cucullate, acute to acuminate; staminodes 1–4(–5), petaloid, sometimes 1 recurved, obovate to narrowly triangular, apex obtuse, acute, acuminate, or emarginate; stamen with 1 theca, connate for up to half of its length with the petaloid part of the stamen; pollen spherical, 55–77 μm diameter, inaperturate, wall provided with spinules; style firm and fleshy, connate for most of its length with the stamen, stigmatic areas 3, shaped as 2 callose strips along the edges of the apical part and 1 vertical row of papils, apex asymmetrically truncate. Fruit generally green, maturing brown, ellipsoid to obovoid, more or less trigonous; wall covered by soft tubercles; tubercles 1–2 mm long, maturing woody and shed with age. Seeds black to dark brown, globose to ellipsoid, very hard.


At elevations between sea level and 3000 m; in shady, often wet places in forest, along rivers, or roadsides, also in secondary vegetation.


All over the Neotropics, from Virginia in the USA to northern Argentina.


Sp. Pl.: 1 (1753) & Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 1 (1754); F. Kränzlin in E.P. IV. 47: 27 (1912); W.Segeren & P.J.M. Maas, Acta Bot. Neerl. 20: 663-680 (1971)

Sp. Pl. 1 (1753); F.T.A. 7: 327; Kränzlin in Engl., Pflanzenr. 4, 47 Cannac.: (1912).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Central
  • Mexico Gulf
  • Mexico Northeast
  • Mexico Southeast
  • Mexico Southwest
  • South-Central U.S.A. Texas
  • Southeastern U.S.A. Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • South Carolina
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific Santa Cruz Is.
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Brazil Northeast
  • Brazil South
  • Brazil Southeast
  • Brazil West-Central
  • Caribbean Bahamas
  • Bermuda
  • Bermuda  level 4
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Leeward Is.
  • Antigua-Barbuda
  • Montserrat
  • Netherlands Leeward Is.
  • St.Kitts-Nevis
  • St.Martin-St.Barth
  • Puerto Rico
  • Trinidad-Tobago
  • Trinidad-Tobago  level 4
  • Windward Is.
  • Grenada
  • St.Lucia
  • St.Vincent
  • Central America Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Southern South America Argentina Northeast
  • Argentina Northwest
  • Paraguay
  • Uruguay
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
Introduced into
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Macaronesia Azores
  • Canary Is.
  • Cape Verde
  • Madeira
  • Middle Atlantic Ocean Ascension
  • St.Helena
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Ethiopia
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • West Tropical Africa Benin
  • Gambia, The
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Central African Republic
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire
  • Western Indian Ocean Madagascar
  • Asia-Temperate China China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Hainan
  • Eastern Asia Japan
  • Ogasawara-shoto
  • Taiwan
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • East Himalaya
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indo-China Andaman Is.
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Jawa
  • Malaya
  • Philippines
  • Papuasia Bismarck Archipelago
  • Australasia Australia New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Europe Southwestern Europe Portugal
  • Spain
  • Pacific North-Central Pacific Hawaii
  • Northwestern Pacific Caroline Is.
  • South-Central Pacific Cook Is.
  • Society Is.
  • Southwestern Pacific Fiji
  • Gilbert Is.
  • Tonga
  • Wallis-Futuna Is.
  • Southern America Caribbean Southwest Caribbean
  • Southern South America Juan Fernández Is.


  • 1 Maas-van de Kamer, H. & Maas, P.J.M. (2008). The Cannaceae of the world. Blumea 53: 247-318.
  • 2 de las Mercedes Ciciarelli, M. & Rolleri, C.H. (2008). Morfología, taxonomía y caracterización de siete especies neotropicales del genero Canna (Cannaceae, Zingiberales). Botanica Complutensis 32: 157-184.
  • 3 Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. Continental Publishing, Deurne.
  • 4 J.M.Lock (1993) Cannaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa
  • 5 F.n. Hepper (1968) Cannaceae. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3(1)
  • 6Linnaeus, C. Original publication of Canna. (1753).at
  • 7 Maas-van de Kamer, H. & Maas, P.J.M. The Cannaceae of the world. Blumea - Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants 53, 247-318 (2008).

 Information From

  • A All Rights Reserved
  • B
Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • C All Rights Reserved
  • D
Flora of West Tropical Aftrica (FWTA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • E All Rights Reserved
  • F
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • G All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • H
  • I Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • J All Rights Reserved
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • K See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.