Although I’ve known about this plant – or thought I knew about this plant – for a long time, it’s blooming in my garden this year for the first time. And this is the first time I’ve actually seen it. It’s over a century old: it appeared in the late nineteenth century. It looks a lot like Canna iridiflora, and from the beginning there seems to have been uncertainty about whether ‘Ehemannii’ is a form of that species or a hybrid.
It’s unique among the garden cannas I know. The drooping flowers (some accounts say the entire inflorescence droops) give the plant a very graceful quality, and graceful is rarely the first thing which comes to mind when discussing cannas. It’s a puzzle to me why more hybrid cannas have not been produced with this style of inflorescence. In fact, it’s a big puzzle because Canna iridiflora itself appears in the stated genealogy of many hybrid canna strains.
This plant can be tall, and drooping flowers on a tall plant are an advantage in that the viewer looks up into the flower instead of looking up and seeing the underside of the bloom.