Wednesday, 5 December 2007

White Canna glauca in Louisiana

There is a popular myth that deep in the waterways of southern Louisiana, USA can be found white Canna growing wild, and protected by State Laws. The photograph to the left shows the normal yellow C. glauca. William Zierath of Petersburg, Illinois, USA, one of our leading Canna species specialists, has investigated this claim and reported his findings. Mr Zierath stated that:
  • He had written to the gentleman who's web site had resurecteded the myth, addressing the issues below. He has not received any response. It appears that the web site may have been recently modified to remove references to a white-flowered Canna glauca. Click here to visit the web site.

  • The web page about yellow cannas included a two-sentence reference to white-flowered Canna glauca in southern Louisiana. The first sentence "There are several acres of a white flowered species (C. glauca) near the Intercoastal canal and H-82 in Louisiana" is obviously derived from a one-sentence reference to the cannas in a 1972 book by Clair Brown entitled Wildflowers of Louisiana and Adjoining States. The sentence structure is the same and they agree to the point of referring to the Intercoastal Waterway as the Intercoastal canal.

  • Those who have travelled extensively on the substandard highways and scenic byways of coastal Louisiana probably know that there are two channels of the Intercoastal Waterway that pass under Highway 82. The new channel passes under a high bridge near Forked Island. The old channel passes under a much lower bridge about 8 miles to the south. It is not clear from the single sentence which channel the cannas were alleged to have grown near.

  • In October 1992, Mr Zierath canoed both ways from Highway 82 along both channels for about 2 miles, looking for these plants. He did not find them.

  • Back in the 1980s, Mr Zierath knew a botanist who was working in Louisiana. He was unable to find any further information about white-flowered Canna glauca in Louisiana.

  • With the exceptions of the above-mentioned book and the web site, Mr Zierath has never been able to find any indication that anyone was aware of the existence of white-flowered Canna glauca plants in Louisiana, or anywhere else.

  • The original web page that aroused this investigation and another page at the same site both used to refer to penalties for poaching the white-flowered Canna glauca plants. In spite of being able to find information about the State of Louisiana's rare plant program, Mr Zierath was unable to find any information to suggest that the state considers this plant rare, in any way protects this plant or is in any way even aware of the existence of this plant.

Mr Zeireth stated that if anyone can come with further information about this subject, then he will be pleased to put additional time and effort into looking for this plant if he can get reliable information about it. If you want to contact me, then I will put you in touch with Mr Zierath.

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