Canna Lily -- By Coy Domecq

This is a plant you have probably seen
growing in local areas most of your life. It
decorates yards and fills roadside landscape
with bold stature, majestic foliage
and dramatically colored flowers. The
plant is commonly known as the Canna
Lilly. In fact, it is not a type of lily but is
closer in similarities to the banana and
ginger groups. The Canna is native to
the lower North American continent and
southward to northern Argentina and has
since been naturalized in many temperate
regions outside of its native origins.
The Canna Lily is one of the oldest cultivated
plants in the Latin and South American
cultures. The plant has been grown
as a food source by Native Americans for
thousands of years and is reputed to be
one of the first domesticated agricultural
products in those areas. The roots were
boiled or baked like potatoes. And the
young shoots were eaten like asparagus.
The Canna rhizomes boast one of
the highest starch contents of any plant.
Although the leaves were not typically
eaten themselves, they were sometimes
used to wrap other foods to facilitate the
baking process. Some cultures used
the roots as a component in making an
alcoholic beverage. (As always, bear in
mind that aquatic and wetland plant roots
often concentrate environmental pollutants
and therefore may not be suitable for
In addition to being useful as food for
humans and livestock. Dried fibers were
used as a jute-like product. The smoke
from burning Canna leaves was said
to have insecticidal properties. Native
Americans also used the Canna seeds
as beads in jewelry. The seeds produce a
purple dye used to color fibers.
The next time you see a Canna Lily,
please keep in mind that it is not just
another pretty face.
Canna Lily -- By Coy Domecq Canna Lily -- By Coy Domecq Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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