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Useful Tropical Plants

Heliconia bihai

(L.) L.

Heliconiaceae


A very variable species with many distinct geographical races that might be recognized as species once more research has been carried out[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

+ Synonyms

Bihai bihai (L.) Griggs

Bihai distans (Griggs) Griggs

Bihai purpurea (Griggs) Griggs

Bihai rutila (Griggs) Griggs

Heliconia aurea G.Rodr.

Heliconia distans Griggs

Heliconia nigrescens Jacq.

Heliconia purpurea Griggs

Heliconia rutila Griggs

Heliconia schaeferiana G.Rodr.

Heliconia variegata Jacq.

Musa bihai L.

Common Name: Wild Plantain

Heliconia bihai
Fruits
Photograph by: Stadtkatze
Creative Commons License
Heliconia bihai Heliconia bihai Heliconia bihai Heliconia bihai Heliconia bihai

General Information

Wild plantain is a large, evergreen perennial plant that looks rather like a banana plant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It can grow from 0.5 - 5 metres tall, forming clumps and spreading by means of offsets[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use for food, medicines and materials. It is commonly grown as an ornamental in the tropics and subtropics[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Northern S. America - Venezuela, Colombia, the Guyanas, northern Brazil, to the Caribbean.

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height3.00 m
PollinatorsHummingbirds
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the humid tropics, it can also be grown in humid subtropical areas[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Requires a moist, fertile, humus-rich soil and a semi-shady position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The flower sheaths are boat-shaped and often hold water. This often becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes[
356
Title
The Useful and Ornamental Plants of Trinidad and Tobago.
Publication
 
Author
Williams. R. O. & Williams. R. O. Jnr.
Publisher
Self Published in Trinidad and Tobago.
Year
1951
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a wide range of plants both native and introduced to Trinidad and Tobago. Gives a brief description of the plant and some of its local uses.
].

Edible Uses

Young shoots are sometimes eaten as a vegetable[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Medicinal

The roots are astringent and diuretic[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

An infusion of the leaves is used to ease expulsion of the foetus at childbirth[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is used to provide temporary protection to young cacao plants and also to provide mulch material[
356
Title
The Useful and Ornamental Plants of Trinidad and Tobago.
Publication
 
Author
Williams. R. O. & Williams. R. O. Jnr.
Publisher
Self Published in Trinidad and Tobago.
Year
1951
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a wide range of plants both native and introduced to Trinidad and Tobago. Gives a brief description of the plant and some of its local uses.
].

Other Uses

The leaves are occasionally used for covering roofs[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

The fibre in the plant has been recommended for making paper[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Division of offsets.

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