Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Helsinki Lily

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Flower blossom (Ginger? Canna Lily cultivar).

Photographed as I walked through Helsinki, Finland, to Seurasaari.

Image: GrrlScientist, 4 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)

Is this one of the many domestic ginger cultivars or is it a real species? If so, which one?


  1. #1 David
    October 4, 2009

    This looks to be a Canna Lily, not really a lily but from the genus Canna which comprises about 20 species and a myriad cultivars… it could be one from the “Premier Group” of cultivars where the flowers have a large circular shape as compared to other groups… because of the yellow ribboning along the edge of the red (and green as opposed to bronze foliage) I think this one is Canna “The President”, but if my bird identification is anything to go by, call it ginger instead!

  2. #2 MadScientist
    October 5, 2009

    From the flower stalk and the general shape I would have thought it a variety of gladiolus.

  3. #3 Adrian
    October 5, 2009

    Yes, a Canna Lily cultivar. Flower stalk similar to Gladiolus but with broad flat leaves instead or sword-like narrow leaves which is named after the Roman sword carried by Gladiators. Yes I’m a nerd.

  4. #4 David
    October 5, 2009

    Actually, I am 100% positive this is a Canna– I grow them, purchase them, and site them for other projects- because of the range of cultivars and the fact that I am not sure which range of cultivars are the most accessible in Scandinavia, the only doubt is in naming the specific cultivar- all the major identification marks (foliage color, flower shape, flower coloring) point to “The President”.

    Even though it is a tropical or subtropical genus, because it is rhizomatous, distribution worldwide for fair weather display is common- in Helsinki, these plants will bloom until close to the first frost when they will be taken indoors for planting out again the following warm season- in Helsinki, it usually will not get above 4 C (39F) until mid-May and then will drop below that mark around early October so you are seeing the last of these cannas now.

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