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Musa acuminata - Colla.

Common Name Dwarf Banana, Edible banana
Family Musaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Shaded and moist ravines, marshlands, semi-marshlands and slopes from near sea level to 1200 metres[266].
Range E. Asia - Southern China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Musa acuminata Dwarf Banana, Edible banana

Musa acuminata Dwarf Banana, Edible banana


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Musa acuminata is a PERENNIAL growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Shoots  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or dried for later use[177 ]. A sweet flavour[46 , 166 ]. The fruit is up to 12cm long and 2.5cm wide[200 ]. The male flowers are eaten raw or roasted and eaten like artichokes[301 , 362 ]. Young shoots - cut finely and added to sauces[301 ]. The tender core of the stem is eaten as a vegetable, in a similar manner to bamboo shoots[362 ]. The leaves are occasionally used for wrapping foods[301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.
Antibiotic  Antidiarrhoeal  Antifungal  Antihaemorrhoidal  Antitussive  Astringent  Digestive  Dysentery  
Epilepsy  Hypoglycaemic  Leprosy  Poultice  Skin  Stings

Unripe fruits are astringent and are eaten as a treatment for diarrhoea[254 ]. The peel and pulp of ripe bananas contain antifungal, antibiotic and dopamine factors[362 ]. The ripe banana peel is abortive, and is also used as a salve to ease insect stings and bites[362 ]. Ashes of the unripe peel and leaves are used as a treatment of dysentery, diarrhea and malignant ulcers[362 ]. The leaves, dried and made into a syrup, are used in Cuba to treat coughs and chest conditions such as bronchitis[254 ]. A decoction of the leaves is drunk to treat consumption[311 ]. Painful urination is treated with juice from the leaves, and dysentery is treated with the leaves[311 ]. A poultice of the leaves is used to treat burns and other skin ailments[362 ]. The flowers are cooked as a remedy for bronchitis, dysentery, diabetics and ulcers[362 ]. The root is strongly astringent and has been used to arrest the coughing up of blood[254 ]. The roots are used to treat convulsions[311 ]. A poultice of the roots has been used to treat carbuncles, swellings, digestive disorders and dysentery[362 ].. The pith of the suckers is used to treat burns[311 ]. The stem is used to treat swellings of the armpit and groin and to treat haemorrhoids[311 ]. An infusion of the stem pulp is used to treat dysentery[362 ]. The sap is used as a treatment for epilepsy, leprosy, dysentery, diarrhea, and is applied on insect stings and bites[362 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Containers  Fibre  Packing  Paper  Weaving

The leaves are used for packing, wrapping and decorative purposes[320 ]. The leaves and shoots yield a fibre that can be used for making a high-quality cloth[362 ]. Fibres from the stem are used for making rugs with a silk-like texture[362 ] Fibres from the bark are used for making paper[362 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Global Crop  Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Managed Multistem  Other Systems: Dyke-pond  Other Systems: Homegarden  Other Systems: Multistrata  Staple Crop: Basic Starch

A plant of the moist to humid tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 2,400 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 23 - 33°c, but can tolerate 12 - 42°c[418 ]. The optimal temperature for fruit production is about 27°c, and night time temperatures should not fall much below 18°c when the fruit is ripening or flavour can be impaired[200 ]. It is not frost tolerant and can be killed by temperatures of 1°c or lower[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 3,600mm, but tolerates 650 - 5,000mm[418 ]. Requires a sunny sheltered position in a well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5[200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7.5, tolerating 4 - 8.4[418 ]. Wild plants are diploid (2n = 22) and bear fruits containing numerous seeds making them inedible. Cultivated plants are triploid (2n = 33) and bear seedless, edible fruits; such plants have been called M. acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ (M. cavendishii Lambert ex Paxton; M. chinensis Sweet; M. nana Loureiro)[266].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world. The annual value of each is more than $1 billion US Examples include coconuts, almonds, and bananas.
  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Managed Multistem  Regularly removing some multiple stems. A non-A non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Other Systems: Dyke-pond  Aquaforestry integrating, fish, livestock and crops.
  • Other Systems: Homegarden  Tropical multistrata agroforestry (multi-story combinations of trees, crops, domestic animals in the homestead).
  • Other Systems: Multistrata  Multistrata agroforests feature multiple layers of trees often with herbaceous perennials, annual crops, and livestock.
  • Staple Crop: Basic Starch  The Carbon Farming Solution. Eric Toensmeier.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow the large seed in individual pots in the spring in a warm greenhouse at about 20°c[200]. Grow the seedlings on in a rich soil, giving occasional liquid feeds. Keep the plants in the greenhouse for at least three years before trying them outdoors. Division of suckers in late spring. Dig up the suckers with care, trying to cause the least disturbance to the main plant. Pot them up and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are well established.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Dwarf Banana, Apala, Guiteng, banana, bananas, banane, bananier du paradis, banano.

TEMPERATE ASIA: Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu (west), Yunnan Sheng (southeast),China. TROPICAL ASIA: India (south), Sri Lanka, Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines,

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 : Cultivated, Ornamental

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Ensete ventricosumEthiopian Banana, Abyssinian bananaPerennial6.0 9-11  LMHNM201
Musa balbisianaPlantain, Plantain BananaPerennial5.0 9-12 FLMHSNM412
Musa basjooJapanese BananaPerennial3.0 7-10  LMHNM222
Musa textilisAbacaPerennial3.0 10-12 FLMHNM005
Musa x paradisiacaBananaPerennial8.0 10-12 FLMHNM522
Musanga cecropioidesCorkwoodTree20.0 10-12 FLMHNM344

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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