Canna indica L.

Last updated: 24 April 2015

Scientific Name

Canna indica L.


Canna achiras Gillies ex D.Don, Canna altensteinii Bouché, Canna amabilis T.Koyama & Nob.Tanaka, Canna ascendens Ciciar., Canna aurantiaca Roscoe, Canna aureovittata Lodd., Canna barbadica Bouché [Invalid], Canna bifida Roem. & Schult., Canna brasiliensis Roscoe ex Spreng., Canna carnea Roscoe, Canna cearensis Huber, Canna chinensis Willd. [Illegitimate], Canna cinnabarina Bouché, Canna coccinea Mill., Canna commutata Bouché, Canna compacta Roscoe, Canna concinna Bouché, Canna crocea Roem. & Schult., Canna densifolia Bouché, Canna discolor Lindl., Canna edulis Ker Gawl., Canna ehrenbergii Bouché, Canna elegans Raf. [Illegitimate],   Canna ellipticifolia Stokes [Illegitimate], Canna esculenta Loudon [Invalid], Canna exigua Bouché, Canna eximia Bouché ex Horan., Canna flavescens Link, Canna floribunda Bouché, Canna formosa Bouché, Canna fuchsina Ciciar., Canna fulgida Bouché, Canna heliconiifolia Bouché, Canna humilis Bouché, Canna juncea Retz., Canna laeta Bouché, Canna lagunensis Lindl., Canna lambertii Lindl. ex Ker Gawl., Canna lanuginosa Roscoe, Canna leptochila Bouché, Canna limbata Roscoe [Illegitimate], Canna lutea Mill., Canna lutea Larrañaga [Illegitimate], Canna macrophylla Horan., Canna maculata (Hook.) Link, Canna maxima Lodd. ex Roscoe [Invalid], Canna montana Blume, Canna moritziana Bouché, Canna nepalensis Bouché, Canna occidentalis Ker Gawl., Canna orientalis Bouché [Illegitimate], Canna orientalis Roscoe [Illegitimate], Canna pallida Roscoe, Canna patens (Aiton) Roscoe, Canna pentaphylla D.Dietr. [Spelling variant], Canna platyphylla Nees & Mart., Canna plurituberosa T.Koyama & Nob.Tanaka, Canna poeppigii Bouché, Canna polyclada Wawra, Canna polymorpha Bouché, Canna portoricensis Bouché, Canna pruinosa Hoffmanns., Canna pulchra Bouché ex Horan., Canna pulchra Hassk., Canna recurvata Bouché, Canna roscoeana Bouché [Illegitimate], Canna rotundifolia André, Canna rubra Willd. [Illegitimate], Canna rubricaulis Link, Canna sanctae-rosae Kraenzl., Canna sanguinea Bouché [Invalid], Canna sanguinea Warsz. ex Otto & A.Dietr., Canna saturate-rubra Bouché ex K.Koch, Canna schubertii Horan.,Canna seleriana Kraenzl., Canna sellowii Bouché, Canna speciosa Roscoe ex Sims [Illegitimate], Canna speciosa Hegetschw [Illegitimate], Canna spectabilis Bouché, Canna sulphurea Bouché [Invalid], Canna surinamensis Bouché, Canna tenuiflora Bouché ex A.Dietr., Canna texensis Regel, Canna textoria Noronha [Invalid], Canna thyrsiflora Hegetschw. [Illegitimate], Canna tinei Tod. [Invalid], Canna variabilis Willd. [Illegitimate], Canna variegata Besser, Canna variegata Bouché [Illegitimate], Canna variegatifolia Ciciar., Canna ventricosa Bouché, Canna warszewiczii A.Dietr. [Illegitimate], Canna xalapensis Bouché, Cannacorus indicus (L.) Medik., Cannacorus ovatus Moench [Illegitimate], Distemon brasiliensis (Roscoe ex Spreng.) Bouché, Distemon grandis Horan. [Illegitimate], Xyphostylis lutea (Mill.) Raf. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Daun tasbeh, ganjong, pisang sebiak [2], sebeh [3][4]
English Canna, Queensland arrowroot, Indian shot [2], achira, australian arrowroot, canna, canna lily, edible canna, Indian bread shot, purple arrowroot, scarlet canna, wild canna [3]
China Mei leng chow, mei ren jiao gen [3]
India Akalburki, blak-pat-mung, canna gida, chare gundina gida, cilaivalai,daevakeli, dev-keli, devakeli, devakili, gurunginja, guringinzda, hakik, hoo dingana, hoodingnata, hadingama, kaabaale, kaalahoo, kaela hoo, kaelaphool, kul vala, katahu, kallankari, kallankariceeti, kath-shim, katu-bala, jatuvara, kela boo, sarbajaya, sarvajaya, tiranapakitam [3]
Indonesia Ganyong (Javanese, Sundanese); buah tasbeh (Javanese); ubi pikul (Sumatra) [2][4]
Thailand Phuttharaksa (General); phutthason (Northern) [2][4]; sakhu chin [3]
Laos Kwàyz ké: so:n, kwàyz ph'uttha so:n [2][3][4]
Myanmar Adalut, butsarana [2][3][4]
Philippines Tikas-tikas (Tagalog); kukuwintasan (Tagalog); balunsaying (Bisaya) [2]
Cambodia Ché:k té:hs [2][3][4]
Vietnam Chu[oos]i hoa, dong ri[eef]ng, khoai dao [2][3][4]
Japan Kanna, dandoku, shokyo-kanna [3]
Hawaii Ali’’ipoe, lil’ ipoe, poloka [3]
France Balisier, canna [2]
Spain Achira [2][4]

Geographical Distributions

Canna indica is native to South America but it is now cultivated pantropically and also in other warmer regions of the world. In many regions including Southeast Asia, it has also become naturalised. [2]

Botanical Description

C. indica comes from the family of Cannaceae. It is a rhizomatous, perennial, erect and robust herb that can reach up to 3.5 m tall. [2]

The stem is fleshy, arising from the rhizome, measures 1-1.5 m tall and often tinged with purple. [2]

The leaves are arranged spirally with large open sheaths and sometimes with a short petiolate. The blade is narrowly ovate to narrowly elliptical, measuring up to 60 cm x 15-27 cm, entire, rounded to wedge-shaped at the base, gradually attenuate to the sheath, acuminate at the apex, prominent at the midrib and often slightly purplish underside. [2]

The inflorescence is terminal, racemose and usually simple but sometimes branched. It bears single or paired, irregular and bisexual flowers. The bracts are broadly obovate and measuring 1-2 cm x 1 cm. There are 3 ovate sepals measuring 1-1.5 cm x 0.4-0.9 cm and acute. The petal is 4-5 cm long where the lowermost is 1 cm fused into a tube and with free lobes. There are 3 linear lobes, measuring 3-4 cm x 0.3-0.6 cm and pale red to yellow. The androecium is petaloid and forms the showy part of the flower, composed of an outer whorl of 3 staminodes and an inner whorl of 2 connate staminodes (one of which forms a large lip or labellum) and with 1 fertile stamen. The outer staminodes are spoon-shaped, measuring 4-6 cm x 1-1.5 cm, very unequal often in length or only 2 clearly visible, fused at the base and reddish. The yellow spotted with red labellum is narrowly oblong-ovate and measuring 4-5 cm x 0.5-0.8 cm. The stamen is 4-5 cm long while the anther is 0.7-1 cm long and adnate to the petaloid portion at the base. The ovary is inferior, trilocular, fleshy style, measures 4-5 cm long, reddish and adnate at the base to androecium. [2]

The fruit is a loculicidally dehiscent ovoid capsule, measuring 3 cm x 2.5 cm and with soft spines outside. [2]

The seeds are blackish to very dark brown spherical, numerous, measuring 0.5 cm in diameter, smooth and hard. [2]

The rhizome branches are horizontally, measure up to 60 cm long and measuring 10 cm in diametre, with fleshy segments that resemble corms, covered with scale leaves, and thick fibrous roots. [2]


C. indica grows well in various climates. A well distributed annual rainfall of 1000-1200 mm is satisfactory. It seems to be a day length neutral, as it grows and flowers under a broad range of photoperiodic conditions. It is affected by drought, but tolerates excessive moisture (but not waterlogging). It is very tolerant of shade. The normal growth occurs at temperatures above 10°C, but it also survives at high temperatures of 30-32°C and tolerates light frost. C. indica grows from sea level up to 1000(-2900) m altitudes. It thrives on many soils, including those marginal for most other tuber crops (e.g. weathered, acidic latosols). The preferred soils are deep sandy loams rich in humus. It tolerates a pH range of 4.5-8.0. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of C. indica L. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Canna indica L.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Apr 23]. Available from:
  2. Ong HC, Siemonsma JS. Canna indica L. In: Flach M, Rumawas F, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 9: Plants yielding non-seed carbohydrates. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1996; p. 63-66.
  3. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012. p. 779.
  4. Philippine medicinal plants. Tikas. Canna indica L. [homepage on the Internet] c2014. [updated 2014 Aug; cited 2015 Apr 24] Available from: