This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
This is another order of almost exclusively sub-tropical plants recently come into vogue for Summer bedding, which on account of their smaller stature, annual stems, and tuberous roots, are better suited for that purpose than many other tender plants. The structure of the flowers is somewhat singular. Perianth superior, composed of 6 segments in two series, the 3 outer forming a 3-lobed calyx, and the 3 inner a tubular irregular 1-lipped corolla. Stamens 3, petaloid, 2 barren, and 1 fertile. Fruit capsular. Various species and varieties of the genus Carina, Indian Shot, are grown for the purpose indicated. They are tufted herbs with handsome sheathing leaves and spikes of yellow, scarlet or orange flowers. C. Indica (fig. 227), a native of South America, has bright scarlet flowers; C. glauca is an East Indian plant with pale yellow flowers and glaucous foliage.
Fig. 227. Canna Indica. (About 1/8 nat. size.)
Fig. 228. Thalia dealbata. (About 1/6 nat. size.)
C. edulis, from South America, is a taller species, 5 to 6 feet high, with reddish stems and orange-scarlet flowers; C. coccinea, from the same country, has scarlet flowers -with the labellum spotted; C. angustifolia or speciosa, from Brazil, has narrower leaves than any of the preceding, and yellow and red flowers; C. Warscewiczii, from New Grenada, has dark-coloured stems and purple-bordered foliage. There are many other species and varieties in cultivation, and the number is increasing every year, so that the latest information can only be gleaned from the florists' catalogues.
Thalia dealbata (fig. 228) is a hardy North American plant belonging to this family. It is an elegant herbaceous aquatic from 2 to 4 feet high with fine glaucous foliage and handsome panicles of purple flowers. It should be planted in a good depth of water to enable it to resist the effects of our Winters.
The exclusively American order, Bromeliaceae, belongs to the group of Endogens, with an inferior seed vessel; but only the three inner perianth-segments are petaloid. Puya Chilen-sis, syn., Pourretia coarctata, a half hardy shrub, is one of the largest species. It has a branching stem of three to four feet high, crowned with rosettes of tough linear leaves, from the centre of which spring the large spicate panicles, six to eight feet high, of yellow flowers.