Ethiopian dating true hermaphrodites
A spectacular architectural plant, in Britain this species can be grown in containers to afford temperate gardens a tropical flair in summer.
Geography and distribution Native to tropical East Africa, from Ethiopia to Angola, the Ethiopian banana (like the majority of species in the Musaceae, or banana family) is a plant of moist and open habitats, rather than closed woody communities.
Monkeys and birds are the most likely dispersers of the seeds.
Conservation assessments carried out by Kew is being monitored as part of the Sampled Red List Index Project, which aims to produce conservation assessments for a representative sample of the world’s plant species.
The leaves provide thatch, umbrellas, mats and wrapping materials, as banana leaves do elsewhere in the tropics, and the leaf stalks yield fibres for cordage and sacking.
The only part of the plant that is not used is the root.
In this region, 11-15 million people rely on the starch contained in the leaf sheaths and pseudostems for their survival.
However, as much as it looks like a 'regular' banana plant, the Ethiopian banana is not cultivated for its fruits, but rather for its vegetative parts.
In southern and south-western Ethiopia, the starch-rich pseudostems and underground organs serve millions of people as a staple food, similar to potatoes elsewhere.
Both the leaf midrib and the pseudostem are often variably stained purple or purplish-brown.
As in other bananas, the main pseudostem dies after flowering and fruiting.