Canna indica (also known as saka siri, Indian shot, canna, bandera, chancle, coyol, or platanillo) is a species of the Canna genus, belonging to the family Cannaceae, a native of the Caribbean and tropical Americas that is also widely cultivated as a garden plant. It is a perennial growing from 0.5m to 2.5m, depending on the variety. It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. In the northern latitudes it is in flower from August to October, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite.
The seeds are small, globular, black pellets, hard and heavy enough to sink in water. They resemble shotgun pellets giving rise to the plant's common name of Indian Shot. They are widely used for jewellery. The seeds are also used as the mobile elements of the kayamb, a musical instrument from Réunion, as well as the hosho, a gourd rattle from Zimbabwe, where the seeds are known as "hota"
In the last three decades of the 20th century, Canna species have been categorised by two different taxonomists, Paulus Johannes Maria Maas from the Netherlands and Nobuyuki Tanaka from Japan. Maas regards C. coccinea, C. compacta, C. discolor, C. patens and C. speciosa as synonyms or varieties of C. indica, while Tanaka recognises several additional varieties of C. indica.
The emerse form has rounded leaves, the submerse leaves are narrow lanceolate. It is very variable dependant on light and environmental conditions. Under strong light the leaves can become almost wine red. Pale pink flowers. This plant can be differentiated from the closely related R. indica by the differences in the two species' inflorescences. R. rotundifolia bears groups of terminal inflorescence while R. indica has solitary flowers on the axis of the leaves.
A common aquarium plant. Undemanding but likes a lot of light to thrive. Can withstand relatively cool temperatures. Losing its lower leaves usually means it is not receiving enough light. Can be grown emerse in shallow water where it will flower. Forms a good clump under reasonable conditions.
Propagated by cuttings which form as side shoots.
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