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Ensete ventricosum - (Welw.)Cheesman.

Common Name Ethiopian Banana, Abyssinian banana
Family Musaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open mountain forests[166].
Range N. Africa - Ethiopia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Ensete ventricosum Ethiopian Banana, Abyssinian banana

Ensete ventricosum Ethiopian Banana, Abyssinian banana


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Ensete ventricosum is an evergreen Perennial growing to 6 m (19ft) by 3 m (9ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


Musa ensete. M. ventricosum.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root;  Seed;  Stem.
Edible Uses:

The chopped and grated pulp of the corms and leaf sheaths is fermented and used as a flour in making kocho bread[134, 177, 183]. 100% kocho flour or a mixture of kocho and other cereal flours may be used[183]. It is said to taste like a good quality bread[2]. The endosperm of the seed is consumed as a food[183]. The base of the flower stalk is edible cooked[2, 177].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

Other Uses


A fibre is obtained from the plant[134].

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber;  Management: Managed Multistem;  Regional Crop;  Staple Crop: Basic Starch.

Requires a very sheltered sunny position in a fertile moisture-retentive soil[200]. This species is not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors on the Scilly Islands[134] and is sometimes used in sub-tropical bedding[1]. Plants can survive light frosts but they require ample shelter from the wind[166]. It should be possible to grow plants in tubs, keeping them outdoors in the summer and bringing them into a greenhouse or conservatory in the winter[K]. The leaves can be up to 6 metres long[188].


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Sow the large seed in individual pots in a heated greenhouse at any time of the year. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water beforehand[200]. Germination should take place within 3 months. Grow on the plants for at least a couple of winters in the greenhouse before attempting to grow them outdoors. Division of suckers in spring. Try to get as much of the sucker's roots out as possible without disturbing the main plant too much. Pot the suckers up and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse until they are established.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

ellie   Wed Jan 18 2006

Josh   Mon Dec 24 2007

does anyone know how to successfully germinate 'Ensete Ventricosum' from seed?

Lorax   Thu Mar 12 2009

The easiest way to germinate Ensete seeds is to suck on them for about 5-10 minutes, then place them on top of sterile soil in a sealable container, then add water, seal the container, and put it in a warm place. Germination occurs in 2-3 weeks this way.

A downloadable ebook from 1997 with advice on growing and preparing based on research in Ethiopia.   Dec 26 2011 12:00AM

The Tree Against Hunger

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