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Botanical Name : Canna indica – L.
Species: C. indica
Synonyms :Canna annaei André.,Canna aurantiaca Roscoe.,Canna barbadica Bouché
Common Name : saka siri, Indian shot, canna, bandera, chancle, coyol, or platanillo, Kardal in Marathi, Sanskrit : vankelee, sarvajaya
Bengali Name: Kalaboti ful or Kala ful
Habitats : Original habitat is obscure, but it is found by the coast and in temperate valleys of the Andes. They grow in S. America. W. Indies. Locally naturalized in the warmest parts of S. Europe.
Perennial, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).
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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” seeds.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.
Requires a deep rich well-drained soil in a sunny position. The plant has large leaves and dislikes windy conditions since this can tear the leaves to shreds. This species is probably hardy in the mildest areas of Britain but even then it should be given a good mulch if left in the ground overwinter. Plants have survived temperatures down to about -5°c overwinter with us. This species is often grown as a summer bedding plant in Britain, especially in sub-tropical bedding schemes. In colder areas of the country the tubers can be harvested in late autumn after the top growth has been killed back by frost and stored over winter. They should be kept in a cool but frost-free place covered in moist soil or leaves. Plants are cultivated for their edible root in the Tropics. Slugs love the young growth in spring and can cause serious damage to plants.
Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and sow February/March in a warm greenhouse at 20°c. Plant the seeds 2 – 5cm deep in individual pots. Scarifying the seed can speed germination, especially if the seed has not swollen after being soaked. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 9 weeks. Grow the plants on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of the root clump as the plant comes into growth in the spring. Each portion must have at least one growing point. Pot up the divisions and grow them on in the greenhouse until they are well established and then plant them out in the summer. Root cuttings.
Edible Parts: Fruit; Root.
Root – cooked. The source of ‘canna starch’, used as an arrowroot. The arrowroot is obtained by rasping the root to a pulp, then washing and straining to get rid of the fibres. The very young tubers are eaten cooked, they are sweet but fibrousy. Roots contain about 25% starch. There is one report that this plant has an edible fruit but this is somewhat dubious, the fruit is a dry capsule containing the very hard seeds.
Demulcent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; VD; Women’s complaints.
The plant is used in the treatment of women’s complaints. A decoction of the root with fermented rice is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea and amenorrhoea. The plant is also considered to be demulcent, diaphoretic and diuretic.
Dye; Fibre; Insecticide; Paper.
The plant yields a fibre – from the stem. – it is a jute substitute. A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making paper. The leaves are harvested in late summer after the plant has flowered, they are scraped to remove the outer skin and are then soaked in water for 2 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 24 hours with lye and then beaten in a blender. They make a light tan brown paper. A purple dye is obtained from the seed. Smoke from the burning leaves is said to be insecticidal.
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