Advertisement
Fact about banana tree
Did You Know?
In Thai folklore, a female spirit known as Nang Tani haunts wild banana plants, and therefore, it is considered a bad omen to cut them.
India is the largest producer of bananas with an annual production of around 29.7 million metric tons―20 percent of the world production. It is followed by Uganda and China, accounting for 8 and 7 percent of the world production respectively. Ecuador leads the way in exports with its annual exports accounting for 33 percent of the global total. It is followed by Costa Rica and Colombia in the second and third positions respectively.
Banana Plant Facts and Information
banana plant
Bananas belong to the Musa genus of the Musaceae family. Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana are the wild species of this plant, and whatever cultivars that are grown today are believed to have descended from these two. You might come across several sources which state that the scientific name of this plant is Musa sapientum, which was the case earlier. The same is no longer in use.
Banana plants are tall and sturdy, usually attaining a height of around 20 - 25 ft, which is why they are often―though incorrectly―referred to as banana trees. In fact, the banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant in the world. The height, which is unusual for a herbaceous plant, can be attributed to their pseudostem or false stem, i.e., the upright stem which grows from the corn.
banana flower
Generally, each stem has a single flower, which is often referred to as the 'banana heart'. In some cases, however, two or more flowers are also produced by a single stem. The banana flower is considered a delicacy in various cuisines across the world.
banana tree leaf
Banana plants can be easily identified by their long, dark green leaves, which measure around 2 - 3 m in length and 50 - 70 cm in width. Banana leaves are typically characterized by blade and stalk; the latter widening towards the base to form the sheath. The pseudostem that we spoke of earlier, is formed by all the sheaths locking into a single unit.
banana fruit
Bananas, i.e., the fruits of this plant, grow in clusters of 5 - 20 bunches each. Each bunch has somewhere around 20 bananas. They can either be eaten when they ripen or when they are green. The ripe ones, which are yellow in color, are eaten raw, while the green ones are normally cooked as vegetables.
Banana plants are vulnerable to a number of diseases including the Panama disease, black sigatoka, bunchy top disease, banana bacterial wilt (BBW), and cigar end rot disease. Panama disease, which is caused by a fungal pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum, is one of the most dangerous diseases to affect the plant. It took a toll on the Gros Michel cultivar, which accounted for a major chunk of commercial production in 1960s.
Today, Cavendish bananas account for the majority of the exports. While Cavendish cultivars are not vulnerable to Panama disease, scientists are worried that they may become unviable due to some other disease, and thus, are trying to create a disease-resistant cultivar.
There is no denying the fact that even today banana plants are primarily cultivated for the fruit, but then, it is also worth noting that the steadily increasing popularity of banana wine and banana beer has also been contributing to its production. So will the use of various parts of this plant in making paper, clothes, etc.
Tips For Banana Cultivation
~It is easier to grow a banana plant from a rhizome, i.e., a horizontal plant stem with shoots and roots, instead of growing one from seeds.

~Ideally, these plants prefer well-drained soil with light texture. When planting them, you need to make sure that the roots are well covered.

~The availability of sunlight is yet another crucial attribute. You need to make sure that you grow them in an area wherein they get ample sunlight.
~The ideal temperature during the day should be around 80 °F. It should not drop below 65 °F at night. Humidity levels above 50 percent are ideal for their proper growth.

~In spite of being a tropical species, banana plants can be grown in temperate regions as well. In such a case, however, you will have to make elaborate plans to protect them from the wind and cold.
Over the period, the importance of bananas has gone well beyond their production for commercial and consumption purpose. More recently, it has gained wide prominence in several cultures across the world. In South and Southeast Asia, in fact, a lot of significance is given to various parts of these plants. No wonder the Thai lore resorts to the legend of Nang Tani to protect them.