Canna have been so extensively hybridized that very few modern cultivars are identified by species. They are known merely by their generic designation of Canna with a cultivar name. Canna flaccida is an ancestor of many hybrids, and the only species that is native north of the Rio Grande, but seems to be rare here. I want it! NOW! I should be satisfied with flashier modern cultivars, but I prefer simpler species, especially one from Florida.

Well, it may be here already. Late last spring, at the worst time to dig Canna, I dug a big colony of it from a site that was about to be landscaped. Even after most were recycled to other gardens, the remnants were canned into two dozen #5 cans. One dozen contained three rhizomes each of ‘Wyoming’. The other dozen cans contained five rhizomes each of an unidentified cultivar with narrower green leaves and yellow bloom. That is enough to plant thirty-six linear feet of ‘Wyoming’ and sixty linear feet of the yellow sort! Now that they are blooming, the unidentified yellow sort seems to be the rare Canna flaccida. I do not know for certain, but it keys out accordingly. If so, it is much more than I hoped for!

Two other Canna that live here were omitted from these pictures because there are only Six on Saturday rather than eight. Without its billowy red bloom, the foliage of a cultivar that remains unidentified is indistinguishable from #1 anyway. ‘Cleopatra’ is normally a hot mess of color, but is sharing only green foliage at the moment. Its foliage is typically randomly striped with broad and narrow bands of green like #1 and dark bronze like #2. Its weird bloom is randomly blotched with bright red and bright yellow, like condiments that squirt out the far side of a hamburger, or Pikachu on the grill of a Buick.

1. ‘Edulis’ was a gift from a neighbor. I wanted it for its fat rhizomes, which are like small potatoes. The slender flowers are red. (‘Edulis’ is a group of many cultivars and hybrids.)

2. ‘Australia’ is one of very few plants that I actually purchased. It cost nearly six dollars! A neighbor of my downtown planter box requested bronzed foliage; but I still feel guilty.

3. ‘Musifolia’ may have inhabited one of our landscapes since its construction in 1968. It gets so tall that I bend it down for deadheading. It and ‘Edulis’ produce viable seed. The slender flowers are peachy orange. (‘Musifolia’ is a group of many cultivars and hybrids.)

4. ‘Pretoria’ lived with ‘Musifolia’, but in spring, was dug and canned for protection from gophers. Only four #1 cans of its rhizomes survive. The billowy flowers are vivid orange.

5. ‘Wyoming’ is recovering from relocation while actively growing last spring. Most went directly to new homes. The billowy and vivid orange flowers resemble those of ‘Pretoria’.

6. Canna flaccida remains unidentified. It arrived with ‘Wyoming’, so is also recovering from untimely relocation. The elongated foliage is simple light green. Flowers are mildly fragrant at night. Apparently, only one other extremely rare species of Canna is fragrant.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


12 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Canna flaccida?!

    1. I hope so also, although I am getting to doubt it. I noticed the very mild fragrance only once. I check nightly, but can not distinguish it again. Regardless, it is a pretty Canna. There are now nine or ten cultivars here. (Two may be the same cultivar.)


    1. Fragrance is almost imperceptible. I have been checking for it nightly, but have not noticed it again.
      Pretoria is the only culitvar here that was procured intentionally within the past several years. The other eight or nine cultivars were either recycled from another application, or have been here for so many years that no one remembers how they got here.


    1. Canna is as foliar as it is floral. Some people prefer to cut floral buds off, so that bloom does not interfere with the foliage. I generally ignored ours for a while, since they were so undemanding. They want only water, and occasional deadheading. I only became more interested in them when we acquired two large batches of them from a garden that they needed to be removed from. Combined with the few that were here already, and ‘Australia’ from my planter box, there are either nine or ten cultivars here. (Two may be the same.)

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    1. Thank you. Regardless of its identity, it is pretty. I sort of doubt that it is the straight species. If it concerns me enough in the future, I can cheaply procure seed for the straight species.

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  1. I’ll be happy to send you a bunch of my canna rhizomes and maybe you can tell me what type it is. It has dark purple leaves and bright orange flowers. They seem to prefer to spread by rhizomes and not from seed.

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    1. Oh, thank you, but I need no more cannas! There are about ten cultivars here now. If yours is a common sort, it is likely either ‘Wyoming’ or ‘Australia’. ‘Wyoming’ has very orange flowers, but only rather brownish bronzed foliage. ‘Australia’ has purplish bronzed foliage, but the flowers are rather reddish orange. If you look up pictures of those two, you might be able to identify your cultivar. How tall do yours get? ‘Australia’ is a bit taller than ‘Wyoming’ but is a bit leaner. Neither produces viable seed, although I have found a few seed from ‘Wyoming’.


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