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The History of Canna Breeding
Cannas first appeared in US gardens in the 1840s but did not become widespread until the 1890s. Much of the breeding work with Canus took place in France. The first major breeder M. It was Theodore Ann who collected Canna glauca and Canna indica in Chile and based his garden hybrids on crosses of these two species. He improved habit and leaf color but his cultivars produced wild-type flowers. Anne released at least 20 hybrid lines in the 1870s, including Canna Anneii-Rosa, Canna Anneii-Rubra, and Canna Anneii-Marginata. Later catalogs referred to Canna anae, and some early taxonomists used the now invalid term Canna anae. Unfortunately, many of his hybrid lines have perished. However, there are some modern hybrids with similar features. Ann canas were bred primarily for foliage properties and are therefore often listed in the ornamental canas foliage group. He was responsible for another popular breed of Cannus foliage, named after a German named Ehmann. These are mainly crosses between Canna iridiflora and Canna ‘Warscewicsii’ (aka Canna warscewicsii, Canna indica var. warscewicsii) and are also known as Ehemann Cannas, Canna ‘Ehemannii’ or the invalid name Canna ehmannii.
From 1860 to 1903, M. Crozi bred hundreds of Cannas cultivars with different heights and flower colors from Canna glauca, Canna indica, Canna iridiflora and Canna ‘warsevisi’. Some of these were called French dwarf ears or gladiolus-flowered ears because of their resemblance to gladiolus flowers. Some of these were triploid. Some of its original varieties survive today. These (and their modern descendants) have been assigned to the Crozi group of Canus. Crozi cannas are among the most cold-hardy of the garden cannas.
In the 1890s the Italian breeder, M. Sprenger crossed existing cultivars with the American native species Canna flaccida to introduce bright yellow flowers into the gene pool. It bears multicolored flowers with yellow staminodes spotted with red or brown. These flowers often resemble Cattleya orchid flowers as they have broad overlapping staminodes. Sprenger’s cultivars are referred to as Italian cannas or orchid-flowered cannas. They are also known as Canna Orchids which is no longer considered a valid name. These Cannas are assigned to the Italian Group of Cannas.
Early ear breeders in America also had their own crop including Antoine Wintzer and Dr. including Van Fleet who together produced more than 100 varieties between the 1890s and 1910s. His goal was to create pure colors of rare colors including yellow and white. Many of these crosses still exist today, including the popular burgundy-leaved ‘Wyoming’. Around the same time, West-Coast plant guru Luther Burbank had his own canna breeding program.
The most prominent botanist who researched canna genetics and breeding in the 20th century was Triloki Nath Khoshu of the National Botanic Garden in Lucknow, India. He studied ear history, breeding and genetics in depth in the 1960s and 1970s. The culmination of this research was the well-known book The Origin and Evolution of Cultivated Canes.
Today there are many kana breeders around the world and dozens of new breeds are announced every year. New varieties offer novel combinations of plant height, leaf color and flower color. Truly novel qualities or combinations of qualities are extremely rare. Today, there are thousands of cultivars covering the entire range of flower color, plant height, and leaf color. The flowers change continuously from yellow to red and everything in between. Flowers can have a combination of colors, including spots, stripes, throat color and picot (colored border). Staminodes vary in shape from thin and spidery to fat and rounded. Flowers may have fertile staminodes of a different color than sterile staminodes, or labellum of a different color. Plants exist at every possible plant height from 15″ to 15′. Leaves can be green or red (or both) and there are a large number of variegated cannas. Variety can be regional or central.
Over the past 150 years, breeders have reduced plant height, increased flower size and staminode width, lengthened the flowering period, improved flower placement (above the leaves and more erect), improved flower durability, improved Cold hardy, and a self-cleaning plant (spent flowers fall off automatically and do not need to be pruned). But breeders are still actively improving canna species.
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#History #Canna #Breeding