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Useful Tropical Plants

Musa x paradisiaca

L.

Musaceae

+ Synonyms

Karkandela × malabarica Raf.

Musa × acutibracteata M.Hotta,

Musa × alphurica Miq.

Musa × aphurica Rumph. ex Sagot

Musa × arakanensis F.W.Ripley ex Blechynden

Musa × bacoba Rottb.

Musa × berteroi Colla.

Musa × bidigitalis De Wild.

Musa × champa Baker

Musa × chapara Perr.

Musa × chiliocarpa Backer ex K.Heyne

Musa × consociata Nakai

Musa × corbieri A.Chev.

Musa × corniculata Lour.

Musa × dacca Horan.

Musa × decrescens De Briey ex De Wild.

Musa × discolor Horan.

Musa × dulcissima Nakai

Musa × emasculata De Briey ex De Wild.

Musa × humilis Perr.

Musa × ingrata Nakai

Musa × jaheri Nakai

Musa × maculata Jacq.

Musa × megalocarpa Nakai

Musa × mensaria Moench

Musa × mirabilis Nakai

Musa × nigra Perr

Musa × odorata Lour.

Musa × oleracea Vieill.

Musa × pallida Nakai

Musa × polycarpa Nakai

Musa × prematura Nakai

Musa × protractorachis De Wild.

Musa × purpureotomentosa De Wild.

Musa × sapidisiaca K.C.Jacob

Musa × sapientum L.

Musa × trichocarpa Nakai

Musa × vittata W.Ackm. ex Rodigas

Common Name: Banana

Musa x paradisiaca
Small banana plantation in south India
Photograph by: Rameshng
Creative Commons License
Musa x paradisiaca Musa x paradisiaca Musa x paradisiaca Musa x paradisiaca

General Information

Banana is a large, perennial plant growing around 8 metres tall[
417
Title
Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www2.bishopmuseum.org/ethnobotanydb/index.asp
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Brief details on over 100 species of Hawaiian plants.
]. Looking somewhat like a tree, it is a herbaceous plant whose top growth dies after flowering, to be replaced by new growth from the 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[
362
Title
Dominica Botanic Gardens
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.da-academy.org/trees_shrubs.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource, providing top quality pictures and some basic information on various plants being grown at the Botanic Gardens, often including uses and habitat.
]. They are one of the most commonly cultivated food crops in tropical and some subtropical regions of the world. The plant also has a range of medicinal and other uses.

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

Only known as a cultivated plant, it is a hybrid of M. Acuminata × M. Balbisiana.

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height8.00 m
Growth RateFast
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

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[
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 sunny sheltered position in a well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5[
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.
].
There are very many named varieties, but two main types can be distinguished:-
Dessert bananas which become very sweet when fully ripe.
Plantains, which contain more carbohydrate and are more commonly cooked.

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked. Dessert forms are sweet and succulent when fully ripe and are widely eaten out of hand, though they are very versatile and are used in a wide variety of other ways. For example, they are commonly used with other juicier fruits to make smoothies, they can be baked, cooked in cakes, dried for later use etc. Plantains are richer in starch and contain less sugars. Whilst these are more commonly cooked as a vegetable, when fully ripe they make a very acceptable raw fruit[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Male inflorescences are eaten in curries or cooked with coconut milk[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The inner stem can be boiled and eaten, or can be dried and made into a flour and starch[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Blanched shoots that sprout from the base can be roasted and eaten[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The leaves are commonly used for wrapping foods that are to be cooked - especially glutinous rice dishes. They impart a distinctive flavour and a greenish colour[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Nectar of the flowers is consumed[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The ashes of the plant can be used as a salt substitute[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The unripe fruits and their sap are astringent and haemostatic[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
,
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
]. They are eaten, often roasted, as a treatment for diarrhoea[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
,
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
]. The fruit is used to treat epilepsy[
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
].
The peeled and sliced fruit is placed on the forehead to relieve the heat of a headache[
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
].

The peel of the fruit is considered an abortive[
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
].

The leaves, dried and made into a syrup, are used to treat coughs and chest conditions such as bronchitis[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. An infusion of the banana leaf, combined with sugarcane roots, is used to hasten 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
].
The leaves are applied as a vesicant on blistering[
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
]. It is tied onto the forehead to relieve a headache[
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
].

The pulp of the trunk is made into an infusion to soothe dysentery[
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
].
A liquid collected at a cut stem is an antiseptic that is applied to furuncles and wounds[
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
].

The root is strongly astringent and has been used to arrest the coughing up of blood[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].
Applied externally, the juice of the root is used to treat carbuncles and swellings[
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
].

The flowers are astringent[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

The fruit contains two vasoconstrictors: norepinephrine (a chemical used to raise blood pressure) and dopamine. Norepinephrine is good for a weak heart[
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
]. The fruit is also rich in vitamin A[
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
]. Sap of the fruit contains serothine, which has an action on the long muscles[
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
].

Other Uses

The large leaves are used as plates for eating food[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

The leaf sheath is used as a temporary binding[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

The juice of the roots is used as a hair tonic[
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
].

Propagation

Seed - sow the large seed in individual pots in the spring in a warm greenhouse at about 20°c[
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.
]. 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.

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