Sunday, 29 March 2009

Visiting Canna discolor var. discolor (Lindl.) Nb.Tanaka

A tall species; green and purple variegated foliage, oval shaped, maroon margin, spreading habit; spikes of flowers are erect, self-coloured crimson, staminodes are long and narrow, edges regular, fully self-cleaning, average bloomer; seed is sterile, pollen is sterile; rhizomes are thick, up to 7 cm in diameter, coloured white and pink; tillering is prolific.

More than other Canna species, C. discolor is used extensively in agriculture in Asia. It grows high yields of very large rhizomes, sometimes the size of a man's arm, exceedingly rich in starch. Still planted in Indian villages as a minor crop.

Discolor means 'two-coloured-leaved', and introduced to England from Trinidad, 1827 (Johnson's Dictionary 1856). Found by the coast of South America, the West Indies and in temperate valleys of the Andes. Usually found at the edges of moist thickets or in ditches.

Dr. Maas considers Canna discolor to be a synonym of C. indica L., however, Dr Tanaka's studies have revealed that C. indica can be clearly distinguished from other taxa. It is a triploid, and is sterile both ways.

Synonyms: C. 'Achira Dark', C. 'Brick', C. 'Brick canna', C. discolor

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