Description: The canna lily is a coarse perennial herb, 90 centimeters (36 inches) to 3 meters (10 feet) tall. The plant grows from a large, thick, underground rootstock that is edible. Its large leaves resemble those of the banana plant but are not so large. The flowers of wild canna lily are usually small, relatively inconspicuous, and brightly colored reds, oranges, or yellows.
Habitat and Distribution: As a wild plant, the canna lily is found in all tropical areas, especially in moist places along streams, springs, ditches, and the margins of woods. It may also be found in wet temperate, mountainous regions. It is easy to recognize because it is commonly cultivated in flower gardens in the United States.
Edible Parts: The large and much-branched rootstocks are full of edible starch. The younger parts may be finely chopped and then boiled or pulverized into a meal. Mix in the young shoots of palm cabbage for flavoring.
All text and images from the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.70: Survival.
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