Frozen Dew Drops Melt From Canna Lily Seed Pods
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 Zingiberaceae (gingers), Musaceae (bananas), Marantaceae, Heliconiaceae, Strelitziaceae, etc. It is a perennial growing to between 20" and 8', depending on the variety. It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite.
The seeds are small, globular, black pellets, hard and heavy enough to sink in water. They resemble shotgun pellets giving rise to the plant's common name of Indian Shot. They are hard enough to shoot through wood and still survive and later germinate. According to the BBC "The story goes that during the Indian Mutiny of the 19th century, soldiers used the seeds of a Canna Indica when they ran out of bullets." The seeds are also widely used for jewellery and are also used as the mobile elements of the kayamb, a musical instrument from Reunion, as well as the hosho, a gourd rattle from Zimbabwe, where the seeds are known as "hota" seeds.
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, and are moved to a warm location for the winter.
November 28th, 2012
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