Musa × sapientum pumila (N.G.Teodoro) Merr.
Musa brieyi De Wild.
Musa cavendishii Lamb.
Musa cerifera (Backer) Nakai
Musa chinensis Sweet
Musa errans (Blanco) N.G.Teodoro
Musa flava Ridl.
Musa halabanensis Meijer
Musa javanica Nakai
Musa malaccensis Ridl.
Musa microcarpa Becc.
Musa minor Nakai
Musa rhinozerotis Kurz
Musa rumphiana Kurz
Musa simiarum Miq.
Musa sinensis Sagot ex Baker
Musa sumatrana Becc.
Musa sundaica Nakai
Musa tomentosa Warb. Ex K.Schum.
Musa truncata Ridl.
Musa zebrina Van Houtte ex Planch.
Common Name: Dwarf Banana
Plant growing in Parque Botanico de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
Photograph by: Kenraiz
Dwarf banana is an evergreen, perennial, herbaceous plant growing around 3 metres tall[
]. The leaves can be 2 metres long and 60cm wide[
]. The plant produces a clump of large pseudostems up to 30cm in diameter at the base, that make it appear rather tree-like. These stems grow up from a perennial stoloniferous rootstock[
Bananas are a staple food and one of the most prolific of all food crops, producing more than cassava, and several times as much as wheat and potatoes[
]. This species, which is the more important parent of the cultivated banana, Musa x paradisiaca, is also cultivated for its edible fruit. There are many named forms that have been developed for the quality of their fruit, as well as many that have been developed for their ornamental quality. Cultivars of this species tend to be hardier and more able to be grown in cooler climates, than those involving M. Balbisiana
E. Asia - Southern China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Shaded and moist ravines, marshlands, semi-marshlands and slopes at elevations from near sea level to 1,200 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental
A plant of the moist to humid tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 2,400 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 23 - 33°c, but can tolerate 12 - 42°c[
]. The optimal temperature for fruit production is about 27°c, and night time temperatures should not fall much below 18°c when the fruit is ripening or flavour can be impaired[
]. It is not frost tolerant and can be killed by temperatures of 1°c or lower[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 3,600mm, but tolerates 650 - 5,000mm[
Requires a sunny sheltered position in a well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7.5, tolerating 4 - 8.4[
Fruit - raw or dried for later use[
]. A sweet flavour[
]. The fruit is up to 12cm long and 2.5cm wide[
The male flowers are eaten raw or roasted and eaten like artichokes[
Young shoots - cut finely and added to sauces[
The tender core of the stem is eaten as vegetable, in a similar manner to bamboo shoots[
The leaves are occasionally used for wrapping foods[
Unripe fruits are astringent and are eaten as a treatment for diarrhoea[
The peel and pulp of ripe bananas contain antifungal, antibiotic and dopamine factors[
]. The ripe banana peel is abortive, and is also used as a salve to ease insect stings and bites[
]. Ashes of the unripe peel and leaves are used as a treatment of dysentery, diarrhea and malignant ulcers[
The leaves, dried and made into a syrup, are used in Cuba to treat coughs and chest conditions such as bronchitis[
]. A decoction of the leaves is drunk to treat consumption[
]. Painful urination is treated with juice from the leaves, and dysentery is treated with the leaves[
A poultice of the leaves is used to treat burns and other skin ailments[
The flowers are cooked as a remedy for bronchitis, dysentery, diabetics and ulcers[
The root is strongly astringent and has been used to arrest the coughing up of blood[
]. The roots are used to treat convulsions[
A poultice of the roots has been used to treat carbuncles, swellings, digestive disorders and dysentery[
The pith of the suckers is used to treat burns[
The stem is used to treat swellings of the armpit and groin and to treat haemorrhoids[
]. An infusion of the stem pulp is used to treat dysentery[
The sap is used as a treatment for epilepsy, leprosy, dysentery, diarrhea, and is applied on insect stings and bites[
The leaves are used for packing, wrapping and decorative purposes[
The leaves and shoots yield a fibre which can be used for making a high quality cloth[
Fibres from the stem are used for making rugs with a silk-like texture[
Fibres from the bark are used for making paper[
Seed - sow the large seed in individual pots in the spring in a warm greenhouse at about 20°c[
]. Grow the seedlings on in a rich soil, giving occasional liquid feeds. Keep the plants in the greenhouse for at least three years before trying them outdoors.
Division of suckers in late spring. Dig up the suckers with care, trying to cause the least disturbance to the main plant. Pot them up and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are well established.