return to: checklist; keys; family Musaceae
Giant herb from below-ground rhizome; "trunk" formed of overlapping leaf sheaths; leaves alternate, simple; leaf blades oblong; inflorescence emerging from the center of the overlapping leaf sheaths, arching downwards; pistillate flowers proximal, staminate flowers distal; fruit the familiar banana.
Leaves and unripe fruits have a high tannin content responsible for both astringent and antibiotic properties of the plant. Decoctions of the leaves have been used as a mouthwash to treat gum disease or swallowed as a vermifuge. Listed as an important source of pollen and/or nectar for bees (Souza Novello 1981, Suarez Molina 1981).