SHAHINA A. GHAZANFAR
Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad.
Perennial rhizomatous herbs. Leaf bases convolute, forming an erect ‘false’ stem. Leaves oblong. Inflorescence racemose. Bracts small, ovate. Flowers hermaphrodite, zygomorphic, usually showy in terminal spike-like panicles. Outer perianth (calyx) 3, free. Inner perianth (corolla) tubular, adnate to the stamens. Stamens petaloid, brightly coloured, the fertile stamen with half the anther on one edge of the other; lower staminodes rolled backwards forming a sort of a labellum. Ovary inferior, 3-locular, placentation axile. Fruit a capsule. Seeds rounded, with a hard endosperm.
A family with a single genus and 55 species distributed mainly in the tropical and subtropical regions of America and Asia. The large flowered species or hybrids are widely cultivated as ornamentals.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under PL-480. We are also grateful to Mr. I.C. Hedge, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh for going through the manuscript and giving valuable suggestions and to Miss R. M. Smith for the identification of Canna indica.