Thor Dalebö.


Canna liliiflora Warsc. ex Planch.

syns. brittoni, Lily Canna, Scented Canna, White Canna
Wild Canna

HEIGHT Giant, over 3 metres
FORM Spreading
FLOWERING Late bloomer

Canna liliiflora Warsc. ex Planch. is a giant species; green foliage, very large, acuminate shaped, spreading habit; spikes of flowers are reflexed, self-coloured white, staminodes are medium size, fully self-cleaning, late bloomer, blooms open in the early morning; fertile both ways, self-pollinating and also true to type; rhizomes are thick, up to 3 cm in diameter, coloured white; tillering is slow.

The name means lily-flowered, a native of Bolivia. Flower 10-13cm. (4-5″) long, honeysuckle-scented. Leaves large, Musa-like, oblong, acuminate. Stems stout, erect. Height 2-3 metres (6-10 feet). The only white species, and the only canna with scent, but very difficult to grow in a temperate climate, only a few documented instances of it being successfully grown outside its native environment.

Canna liliiflora

The illustration is from Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe by Charles Lemaire and others. Gent, Louis van Houtte, 1855, volume 10 (plate 1055-1056).

Our earliest reference to this specimen is RHS Journal of 1899-1900.

Pollination of liliiflora - Maas
C. liliiflora: According to Vogel (1969), who studied this species in the field (as C. brittonii), the flowers are pollinated by bats. The inflorescence reaches well above the leaves. The flowers are erect, whitish and funnel-shaped, the floral tube is basally thick-walled and curved so that the entrance to the flower is horizontal. Two staminodes form the ‘upper lip’ of the flower, the third one along with the petaloid stamen suggests the ‘lower lip’, while the 4th staminode and the stigma are positioned at the left side of an eventual pollinator. In bud the pollen has already been deposited on the style (secondary pollen presentation). Upon entering the flower, the pollen is transferred from the style to the left side of the pollinator (antero-laterally). Septal nectaries secrete a considerable amount of nectar into the base of the floral tube and constitute a reward for the pollinating bats, which are attracted by a herbaceous-soapy scent to visit the flower.