Banana tree

plant of the family Musaceae

the banana tree is not a tree, in spite of its straight shape and its large drooping leaves, but a herbaceous plant monocotyledonous! the only permanent part of the banana tree is an underground stem, or rhizome, which emits suckering every year.
Species: Banana tree plantain, Musa paradisiaca, which produces bananas to be cooked.
Common banana tree, Musa sapientum, which produces the common edible banana.
Banana tree of Manila, Musa textilis, which produces fibres (Manila hemp or abaca).
Banana tree of the Canary Islands, Musa acuminata.
Banana tree of the Himalayas, Musa hookeri and musa sikkimensis
Japanese banana tree, musa basjoo
Banana tree of northeast India, musa balbisiana and musa velutina

Origin: Southeast Asia. The banana tree was introduced into the tropical countries (Central America, tropical Africa).
: rich soil, humus, cool, drained; mild climate with heat. Nevertheless we find it in Paris region (Pictures opposite), but these banana trees do not produce fruit (the flower opposite was photographed in Vietnam).
Musa basjoo: hardiness 7
Musa sikkimensis
: hardiness 7
Musella lasiocarpa: hardiness 8
Musa balbisiana: hardiness 8 (native to northeast India)
Musa thomsonii: hardiness 9
Musa dwarf orinoco: hardiness 9
Musa cavendish: hardiness 10 (does not support frost).
Height: 1.50 - 12 m according to the species.
Rate of Growth: very quick and short. The "trunk" of the banana tree is a stipe. It is composed of basal leaf sheaths which fit closely into each other in a spiral, as in the palms. But the banana is annual, that is to say the babana tree dies after fruit maturation, and new stems appear each year from buds carried by the rhizome.
Leaves: fine, long from 1 to 3 m tall. Their blade folds up along the big vein median.
Flowers: yellow-white in summer, grouped into panicles with showy appearance of a spike. They are arranged in whorls around the flower stem that originates in the middle of the wreath. The female flowers are located at the base of the flower stem, male flowers at the top.
Fruit: the banana, from 10 to 40 cm long, in "regime" of a hundred of fruits, all weighing 10 to 20 kg. After producing these fruits, the plant dies, it is replaced by dividing the "rods" of living subjects.
Advices of planting of the banana tree:

There are several banana trees resistant to the winters of Europe. They behave in a cold climate as perennials or as bulbous plants and leave the stump in spring. Japanese banana, Musa basjoo, is adapted to temperate climate. It is resistant to -15 ° C. As a precaution, it should protect the stem with straw. The summer should be watered if necessary. It produces fruit, but small inedible. Its name comes from the Japanese word referring to the banana, "Basho".
Musa sikkimensis grows on the slopes of the Himalayas, where it encounters snowy winters. It also produces edible fruit sprinkled with seeds. The underside of the leaves turns a beautiful red. Musella lasiocarpa also fairly resistant to cold with a good protection of straw. It produces in two years of culture, a beautiful yellow flower and the leaves are greenish reflections.

The cultivation of bananas requires well-drained soils, a suitable humidity (1 250 mm of rain per year) and temperatures above 15 ° C. The major producers are India, Uganda, Brazil, Ecuador, China, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Rwanda and Nigeria. The major importers are Europe and the U.S. (most of the bananas imported from France from Guadeloupe and Martinique). Bananas are harvested green and complete ripening on the ship.


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