Canna indica

The development of canna gardening, collecting, breeding started with the import into Europe of a handful of wild species from the Americas some 300 years ago. The first species introduced was C. indica, came from the West Indies in 1570, and which became so widespread that it provided the common name for cannas in many countries, i.e. people refer to indica rather than canna.

There followed several other species, which caused great interest and excitement in Courts and Mansions around Europe. However they all shared one common feature; they were all treated as stove plants, which are those that require artificial heat to make them grow in cold or cold temperate climates.

At that time in Europe, Canna species were confined to botanical gardens, cultivated in greenhouses, and their custodians hardly dared to expose them to the open air, because of their tropical origins. However, that was about to change.