Bandera Espanola( Canna indica) is the long genus of the family Cannaceae which is only comprised of 20 species from Central and South America. The name originated from the Greek name for a certain type of reed. Since the type species, C.indica, ca survive submerged in 6 inches of water, it behaves quite like the aquatic plant. However, it is not a native of India, but of the Wes Indies.
It is quite surprising that plant breeding of this tropical and subtropical genus was initiated and continuously done in temperate countries. The reason is more surprising because Cannas require a minimum of only six hours of a sunlight in order to grow in almost any type of soil. and seedlings will produce flowers in less than a year. Once they bloom, artificial pollination may be done again.
The Plants and their uses and Importance
Commonly known as Indian canna, Indian shot, edible canna, and arrowroot, the hard, round seeds of these plants are used by America Indians as bullets to kill their enemies. The Rhizomes are harvested for the flour that is why the plants are cultivated as a root crop just like the arrowroot or uraro( Maranta Arundinacea) but can also be eaten raw or cooked. In fact, for human consumption in the Andes, Vietnam , and Southern China where the starch is made into glass noodles or sotanghon.
The Plant is always bearing fruits and the seeds can be disseminated days after flower opening. The seeds can be used as material for jewelry and as a source of purple dye. these are also, used as moving elements of the kayamb, a musical instrument from Reunion, as well as the hosho, a gourd rattle from Zimbabwe. In India, the seeds are fermented to produce alcohol. Immature seeds are used as extender for tortillas. On the other hand, young shoots that contain at least 10 percent protein are harvested and cooked as vegetable, whole the fibers from leaves are made into paper. Even the rhizome has medicinal value. It is used as a diuretic when boiled and serves as as calmative in bladder spasms.