Monday, April 21, 2008

Furled Canna

Plant breeders have been cultivating and trading cannas for 400 years. A native of the West Indies, this plant is more than just another pretty face. The entire plant is useful. Purple dye can be obtained from the seeds, paper made from the leaves, the rootstock yields arrowroot starch and smoke from its burning leaves is insecticidal. Although once referred to as an horticultural mongrel, more would agree with a Victorian artist who proclaimed it to be "the handsomest foliage in the border".

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