Indian shot

Indian shot

Canna indica (Cannaceae)

Common Name:

Indian shot

Scientific Name:

Canna indica (Cannaceae)

Alternative common names:

Garden canna; wild canna (English); tuinkanna;  Indiese kanna (Afrikaans); udumbedumbe (isiZulu)


A perennial shrub with erect, leafy shoots 1-2m high. Large green or purple-bronze leaves sheathing the stem. Narrow flowers are red or orange, usually yellow below and the plant produces green, spiny fruits

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Caribbean region and tropical America

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Existing legislation: CARA 2002 - Category 1 NEMBA - Category 1b

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Scattered localities in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces

How does it spread?

By seeds and underground rhizome

Why is it a problem?

Canna indica forms dense spreading clumps and competes with and replaces indigenous species

What does it look like?

General description: A perennial rhizomatous herb growing between 1-2m with large leaves.
Bark: Indian shot is a robust perennial herb up to 1m tall that grows from a thick, branching, underground rhizome.
Leaves: Large green, broad leaves, which taper to a point.
Flowers: Red or orange, usually yellow below, narrow with long petals.
Fruit/Seeds: Green, spiny, three-valved capsules

Does the plant have any uses?

Planted as an ornamental, the seeds are also used as beads in jewellery

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