Indian Shot – African Arrowroot – Edible Canna

Indian Shot – African Arrowroot – Edible Canna – plant care guide

Indian Shot – African Arrowroot – Edible Canna

Indian Shot (Canna indica) is a robust plant species in the family Cannaceae and is Native to South-east Asia and South America. They are drought-tolerant plants that yield beautiful brightly colored flowers that resemble orchids. They are popular due to the broad and lance-shaped striped foliage and showy red, yellow, or orange flowers. Despite their exotic appearance, cannas are fairly easy to grow in outdoor gardens.

Canna indica is a minor food crop cultivated by people of the South-Asia for thousands of years and is packed with many medicinal properties. Common known names of the plant are African arrowroot, canna, canna lily, edible canna, Indian canna, Indian reed, and arrowroot. Canna is famously called Indian Shot. The story is that during the uprising in India, Britishers used to fill the barrels of their rifles with canna seed which is known to be rock hard and perfectly round in shape thus used as a substitute in muzzle loading guns.

Canna indica can be easily grown in pots and containers and prefers to be kept outdoors under the full-bright sun. They can grow in almost any soil but fertile, well-drained soil works best.  Indian Shot are known to be drought-tolerant and should be watered evenly once every 10-15 days. To get the plants to bloom properly, a regular diet of manure and compost should be given.

Canna indica is a rhizomatous plant and can be easily propagated by dividing the tubers. Different parts of the plant are used for different purposes.  The rhizomes are rich in starch and consumed by humans and livestock (which has now been replaced by potatoes and many other root crops), young shoots can be used as a vegetable and young seeds as an addition to tortillas. These are non-toxic for pets. 
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