Herbs, perennial, from rhizomes. Aerial stems present, unbranched. Leaves cauline, 2-ranked, differentiated into basal sheath, petiole, and blade; sheaths overlapping, supporting stem, open, ligule absent; summit of petiole not differentiated; blade with lateral veins parallel, diverging from prominent midrib. Inflorescences 1 per aerial shoot, terminal on leafy shoot, pedunculate racemes or panicles of flowers or of 2-flowered monochasial cymes (cincinni); bracts of main axis subtending flowers or cincinni. Flowers bisexual, asymmetric; sepals and petals differentiated, sepals 3, distinct, petals 3, connate at base; fertile stamens 1, petal-like, anther marginal, 1-locular; staminodes (1--)3--4, petal-like, showy, unequal, anterior staminode (labellum) often broader than posterior staminodes; ovary inferior, 3-carpellate, 3-locular, all locules fertile; placentation axile; ovules few to numerous per locule; style standing away from stamens and staminode, petal-like; stigmatic area shaped as marginal callosity; style, stamen, and staminodes basally connate into tube. Fruits capsules; sepals persistent in fruit. Seeds: aril absent; endosperm scanty; perisperm copious; embryo straight. x = 9.
Herbs perennial. Stems erect, robust. Rhizomes tuberous. Leaves alternate, spirally arranged, large, veins pinnate and parallel, base sheathing. Inflorescence a terminal raceme or panicle of showy, 1- or 2-flowered cincinni. Flowers bisexual, asymmetric, mostly large. Sepals 3, green, free, persistent. Corolla lobes 3, green or colored, basally connate into a tube and adnate to staminodes. Staminodes and stamen in 2 whorls: outer whorl with (2 or)3 conspicuous, petaloid staminodes, usually red or yellow; inner whorl with a reflexed staminode (labellum), narrower than outer staminodes, and a fertile stamen; filament petaloid; anther 1-loculed, adnate to apical margin of filament. Ovary inferior, 3-loculed; ovules numerous per locule; placentation axile. Style petaloid. Fruit a capsule, 3-valved, usually warty. Seeds many, globose; endosperm copious; embryo straight.
Perianth double, the outer calyx-like, the inner corolla-like
Sepals 3, imbricate, free, herbaceous
Leaves large, broad, pinnately nerved, with a distinct midrib
Flowers racemose or paniculate, bracteate, zygomorphic, bisexual, mostly large and brightly coloured
Tall leafy perennial rhizomatous herbs
Seeds many, rounded, with very hard endosperm
Ovary inferior, 3-locular; ovules numerous, axile
Fruit a capsule, pericarp often warted
Petals 3, connate at the base and adnate to the staminal column
Stamens petaloid, 3 outer sterile, imbricate, 2 inner more or less connate, 1 free; anther solitary, 1-locular, adnate to the side of the petaloid portion
Fruit capsular, loculicidally dehiscent (often tardily so); seeds globose, smooth, very hard
Ovary inferior, 3-locular; surface spiny-fimbriate or verrucose; ovules numerous, axillary
Style fleshy, free or connate with the petaloid part of the stamen and staminodes to form a tube
Leaves spirally arranged, with open sheaths; ligule absent
Inflorescence terminal, many-flowered, bracteate, either a simple spike or a pseudo-spike made up of 2-flowered subunits
Herbs arising from horizontal variously thickened rhizomes
Outer whorl with 3 ovate segments
Inner whorl of 3 narrowly oblong segments, longer than the members of the outer whorl
Perianth 6-partite, in 2 whorls
Androecium largely petaloid, usually with one member (the labellum) much larger than the others
Grootjen, C. J. and F. Bouman. 1988. Seed structure in Cannaceae: Taxonomic and ecological implications. Ann. Bot. (Oxford) n. s. 61: 363--371. Kress, W. J. 1990. The phylogeny and classification of the Zingiberales. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 77: 698--721. Kress, W. J. and D. E. Stone. 1982. Nature of the sporoderm in monocotyledons, with special reference to the pollen grains of Canna and Heliconia. Grana 21: 129--148. Lerman, J. C. and E. M. Cigliano. 1971. New carbon-14 evidence for six hundred years old Canna compacta seed. Nature 232: 568--570. Maas, P. J. M. 1985. 195. Cannaceae. In: A. R. A. Görts-van Rijn, ed. 1985+. Flora of the Guianas. Series A: Phanerogams. 1212+ volsfasc. Königstein. VolFasc. 1, pp. xx--xx69--73 . Maas, P. J. M. and H. Maas. 1988. 223. Cannaceae. In: G. Harling et al., eds. 1973+. Flora of Ecuador. 5660+ volsnos. Göteborg. VolNo. 32, pp. 1--9. Rogers, G. K. 1984. The Zingiberales (Cannaceae, Marantaceae, and Zingiberaceae) in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 65: 5--55. Woodson, R. E. Jr. and R. W. Schery. 1945. Cannaceae. In: R. E. Woodson Jr. et al., eds. 1943--1981. Flora of Panama. 41 fasc. St. Louis. [Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 32: 74--80.] Yeo, P. F. 1993. Secondary pollen presentation: Form, function and evolution. Pl. Syst. Evol., Suppl. 6: 204--208.