Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth crop

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Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth crop

Post by Maast » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:05 pm

To extend my edible landscaping (aka "stealth crops"), today I planted 100 seeds of what is commonly called Canna Lilly, I planted the (original, non-ornamental) Canna Edulis. Its in a border along my back yard fence. They can grow up to 8 feet high and with a rhizome tuber about as long as an adult forearm.

The whole plant is edible, the leaves are 10% protein, the dry matter in the tuber is 75-80% starch and 6-14% glucose and sucrose.

From all accounts Canna is a remarkable plant, its very hardy, it'll grow just about anywhere, with minimal or no attention, irrigation, or weeding. When grown as a field crop yields can be between 40 - 80 metric tons/hectare - a bit more than what potatoes do.

It can be eaten directly or shredded in water to give loose starch that can act as a flour extender or substitute.

It can be left in the ground all winter without rotting and harvested as needed, or stored in a cool dry area.

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1398&page=27" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This guy cooked some up and says it tastes like a slightly sweet potato and was pretty tasty. Its also commonly used in asia to make transparent noodles.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2686/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And as far as my neighbors know all I have is a row of tall pretty flowers.
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Cowgirl » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:57 pm

Interesting! I hope you follow up with your experience with them as they grow. I am interested in how they do for you over time.

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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Qasim » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:01 pm

Dude, you just blew my mind. I have canna lillies on my property and I thought of them as weeds I disliked them so. In fact, I think my wife pulled some of them out a few weeks ago. I need to go and check if any are left.

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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Qasim » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:05 pm

Okay, I think I'm confusing them with hasta (which we also have). We didn't ditch the canna lillies (not that you asked). Very cool.

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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by TacAir » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:27 pm

Another 'edible flower' is the Sego Lily. Now considered a ornamental, it has an edible root/tuber.

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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Maast » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:41 pm

Also, I should have added that the seeds are viable for up to 600 years (!!) and are so hard they have been used as buckshot. One of the names is "indian shot". You might also know it as "Queensland Arrowroot" even though its not true arrowroot.

Its supposed to grow fairly fast, I'll let you all know how it works out and tastes around June or July
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Blast » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:32 pm

Qasim wrote:Okay, I think I'm confusing them with hasta (which we also have). We didn't ditch the canna lillies (not that you asked). Very cool.
Hostas are also edible.
http://www.missmodish.com/modish/2011/0 ... ostas.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Blast » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:36 pm

Maast wrote:To extend my edible landscaping (aka "stealth crops"), today I planted 100 seeds of what is commonly called Canna Lilly, I planted the (original, non-ornamental) Canna Edulis. Its in a border along my back yard fence. They can grow up to 8 feet high and with a rhizome tuber about as long as an adult forearm.
Excellent choice. Don't forget their tuber can also be used to make alcohol. You'll have to add some form of amylase enzyme (malt) to break the starch down into sugar, just as if you were using corn or potatoes. In a pinch, you can chew the tuber and spit it into a pot. There are naturally occurring amylases in saliva...hence the "spit beer" of primitive cultures.
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Utah_ZHunter » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:07 am

Blast wrote:
Maast wrote:To extend my edible landscaping (aka "stealth crops"), today I planted 100 seeds of what is commonly called Canna Lilly, I planted the (original, non-ornamental) Canna Edulis. Its in a border along my back yard fence. They can grow up to 8 feet high and with a rhizome tuber about as long as an adult forearm.
Excellent choice. Don't forget their tuber can also be used to make alcohol. You'll have to add some form of amylase enzyme (malt) to break the starch down into sugar, just as if you were using corn or potatoes. In a pinch, you can chew the tuber and spit it into a pot. There are naturally occurring amylases in saliva...hence the "spit beer" of primitive cultures.
-Blast
NOW I think I need to grow some of this. I sounds funner than mead. 8-)
I am curious as to why you call it a "stealth" plant?
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by BigDaddyTX » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:51 am

Not OP, but it's an ornamental lawn plant. Most people don't know it's edible; you'd just walk on by if you were hungry and never know better.
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:06 am

BigDaddyTX wrote:Not OP, but it's an ornamental lawn plant. Most people don't know it's edible; you'd just walk on by if you were hungry and never know better.
This. Not so much "stealth" as "my wife doesn't have to explain to the neighbors why we have a small farm."
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Maast » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:16 am

BigDaddyTX wrote:Not OP, but it's an ornamental lawn plant. Most people don't know it's edible; you'd just walk on by if you were hungry and never know better.
Exactly, it was a highly productive food plant in the Andes WAY before it was an ornamental and I planted the original non-ornamental variety.

Only myself and (to a much lesser extent) my wife know you can eat them. I mentioned to her "you know, you can eat everything in this plant" while I was planting, I dont think she really caught on and she thinks they're primarily ornamental.

I bought the seeds from 3 different places to give me a good genetic mix, as the years go by I'll select for tuber size and hardiness. Because the seeds are viable for so long I should quickly build up a seed bank of thousands of seeds

If I wanted to I could just let them grow from year-to-year and ignore them. In fact I've read they can turn into a invasive weed and spread everywhere.

My only real concern is all the fricken moles and rabbits around here eating them.
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Hobbit » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:43 am

Not to be confused with Camas Lily, which are also edible and were once a staple food for the Native Americans, except for the ones that are deathly poisonous. (The white ones, if I remember correctly?)

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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Illini Warrior » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:40 pm

Maast wrote:To extend my edible landscaping (aka "stealth crops"), today I planted 100 seeds of what is commonly called Canna Lilly, I planted the (original, non-ornamental) Canna Edulis. Its in a border along my back yard fence. They can grow up to 8 feet high and with a rhizome tuber about as long as an adult forearm.

The whole plant is edible, the leaves are 10% protein, the dry matter in the tuber is 75-80% starch and 6-14% glucose and sucrose.

From all accounts Canna is a remarkable plant, its very hardy, it'll grow just about anywhere, with minimal or no attention, irrigation, or weeding. When grown as a field crop yields can be between 40 - 80 metric tons/hectare - a bit more than what potatoes do.

It can be eaten directly or shredded in water to give loose starch that can act as a flour extender or substitute.

It can be left in the ground all winter without rotting and harvested as needed, or stored in a cool dry area.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1398&page=27" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This guy cooked some up and says it tastes like a slightly sweet potato and was pretty tasty. Its also commonly used in asia to make transparent noodles.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2686/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And as far as my neighbors know all I have is a row of tall pretty flowers.


you might be able to leave canna root in the ground around your WA area ..... but in the Upper Midwest they will freeze and turn to mush after thawing ..... you need to dig them in the fall and dry them good to keep them from molding ...... around Chicago the weather permits an early May planting ..... the great thing about canna is their yield .... a small turd of a root will give you several pounds of multiplied roots
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by williaty » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:48 pm

How quickly do these grow to their 8' height? I'm wondering if they could be a good quick privacy screen when we get our new place.

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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Utah_ZHunter » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:55 pm

Another thing, where do you buy your seeds. A PM will do. Thank you sir.
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Maast » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:32 pm

Utah_ZHunter wrote:Another thing, where do you buy your seeds. A PM will do. Thank you sir.
I bought from a vendor on ebay, they had the best price by far, took a while (3-4 weeks) to get here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Seed-Canna-E ... 4d007f8827" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://shop.theplantattraction.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; they had fast shipping but were a little spendy.

http://www.georgiavines.com/cart/index. ... ts_id=1447" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and I bought from this guy last year when I first heard about Canna Edulis

I didnt plant all the seeds from the Taiwain Ebay vendor, I've got a couple handfuls left. I asked if they were the actual edible Edulis and it was. I'll see how plants from Taiwan do here in western WA - where its either rainy as hell or dry all summer.
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by crypto » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:55 pm

The ebay link looks intriguing but I find myself wondering if its legit to import seeds that havent gone through a USDA process. I seem to remember there being quite a bit of red tape associated with importing plants.
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by Illini Warrior » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:00 pm

Utah_ZHunter wrote:Another thing, where do you buy your seeds. A PM will do. Thank you sir.

your local garden center should have bulbs available .... figure one every foot ..... you might want to put out "feelers" in FreeCycle ect ect and the local gardening circle for sources .... I donate 50-60 lbs of extra bulbs every fall
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Re: Today I planted Canna Lilly (Canna Edulis) as a stealth

Post by FraterLVX » Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:11 am

Just ordered some seeds. Very interesting; I appreciate the OP bringing it to our attention.
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