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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ensete ventricosum - Ethiopian banana

Great tropical looking banana from Ethiopia, the Ethiopian banana is seen frequently but less so than its red foliaged cultivar, 'Maursii'. I like this one with its distinct red midrib and its commonly wind damaged leaves. Best for tropical landscapes, growing with some protection to 20'.

Leaves are paddle-shaped, really narrowly elliptical, 8-10' long, with penni-parallel venation, petioles are red as is the midrib and usually the leaf margin. Petiole base is clasping around the stem. Leaves are a major source of starches and along with the stems are ground up and used as food source in Ethiopia.

You can see the way the leaves tear along the perpendicular vein lines.

You can see the old leaf bases still attached, and showing the vascular traces in parallel groups rather than bunches like a dicot.

Bananas likely but bananas have more oval stems.

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