Canna (or Canna lily, although not a true lily) is a genus of nineteen species of
flowering plants. The closest living relations to cannas are the other plant
families of the order Zingiberales, that is the gingers, bananas, marantas, heliconias,
Canna is the only genus in the family Cannaceae. Such a family has almost universally
been recognized by taxonomists. The APG II system of 2003 (unchanged from the
APG system, 1998) also recognizes the family, and assigns it to the order Zingiberales
in the clade commelinids, in the monocots.
The species have large, attractive foliage and horticulturists have turned it into a
large-flowered, brash, bright and sometimes gaudy, garden plant. In addition, it is one of
the world's richest starch sources, and is an agricultural plant.
Although a plant of the tropics, most cultivars have been developed in temperate climates
and are easy to grow in most countries of the world as long as they can enjoy at least 6-8
hours average sunlight during the summer. See the Canna cultivar gallery for photographs
of Canna cultivars.
The name Canna originates from the Celtic word for a cane or reed.