The earliest reference we can find to this one is George Nicholson, The Illustrated Dictionary of Gardening, 1888. We acquired it in 2005, and grew it alongside many of our other Foliage Group cultivars. We quickly moved the pot alongside C. 'Red Stripe' when we realized how alike they were.
Research has shown that there is no satisfactory source of origin for Red Stripe, and in his book The Gardeners Guide to Growing Cannas Ian Cooke wrote, "Red Stripe’ is very similar to C. indica var. purpurea and as it sets seeds readily, it is quite likely to be a variation on it." That speculative statement now seems to be treated as definitive, and it is now being called C. indica purpurea var. Red Stripe.
However, having grown both varieties alongside each other for two years, we are convinced that they are the self-same plant, and we now treat C. 'Red Stripe' as being just a synonym of the much older C. 'Auguste Ferrier'.
Research has discovered more about Canna indica var. purpurea, and that will be discussed in a future blog.