A Wetland Treasure

Louisiana canna (Canna glauca) ~ Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Nacogdoches

With its feet firmly planted in the water, its long, slender leaves arrayed around a sturdy stalk, and its gently curving petals, the plant’s appearance first suggested an iris: a beautiful if somewhat puzzling version of the irises native to Texas.

In fact, I’d come across Canna glauca, a member of the Canna family native to Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina in the United States. The plant favors a wet environment, and  often goes by the names water canna, or Louisiana canna. The specific epithet glauca refers to its blue-green leaves.

I’ve never been a fan of so-called canna lilies, which aren’t lilies at all, but members of a genus which originated in tropical areas of the Americas before being introduced into other parts of the world. But C. glauca, less frowsy than many canna cultivars, caught my eye with its color and simpler form.

Its seed pods are as interesting as the flower is beautiful, and reminiscent of some exotic Asian fruit. Although cannas are easily propagated by dividing their underground rhizomes, they can be started from seed.

Each pod contains one to three fairly large black seeds which require scarification, soaking, and consistent warmth for germination to occur. It seems to be quite a process, but the reward is obvious: another native canna to enjoy.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Flying The Alligator Flag

Alligator flag, or powdery thalia (Thalia dealbata)

Rain lilies rejoice in occasional dowsings, but other plants prefer to live in a damp, or even flooded, environment. Powdery thalia is such a plant.

As its name suggests, it lives comfortably alongside the alligator in bayous and backwaters. If you see this flag flying, it’s best to keep a sharp eye for one of its usual companions.

Even before flowering, its three to six foot bloom stalk isn’t hard to spot. And once the blossoms appear, their messy splendor and vibrant color shine in a world often overwhelmed by shades of green.

Best of all, the flowers don’t bite.

 

Comments always are welcome.