Ensete perrieri or Madagascar banana is the only banana species native to this island.
It was discovered in 1905 by a French botanist, Claverie and named after Henri Perrier de la Bathie, a French botanist.
It looks like the Asian Ensete glaucum: a sturdy pseudo-stem, covered with bluish wax and thickened at the base.
The pseudo-stem is 4 m long and 75 cm in diameter at the base. The plant itself is 6-7 m high.
The leaves are right and erect, with a short petiole and a yellow to orange central vein. The more sun it gets, the more the leaves stand upright. In the shade they are usually bent and drooping. The color of the juice is pink in the outer sheaths and violet-red in the inner sheaths .
The inflorescence is brown, rather large, dense and pendant. The first bracts have a short sheath. The bracts are oval and vary in color (green, yellow, pink or purple). There are 18 to 20 flowers per bract. Male flowers have 5 perfect and 1 malformed stamens. Petal detached 3-lobed, the middle lobe is pointed, the lateral lobes are rounded.
Fruits are abundant (up to 210 per cluster), 10-12 cm long and about 2.5 cm wide, with a thin layer of yellowish flesh.
The seeds are very numerous, black, 8.3 cm in diameter, irregularly oval, wart-like, with a large navel and a depressed micropyle.
Madagascar banana, Perrier banana
Ensete: the local Abessinian name
Perrieri: in honor of the French botanist Henri Perrier de La Bâthie (1873-1958)
Dry tropical forest
USDA zone 10-11
water daily during growing season
Fertilize regularly during growing season: every 1-2 weeks
Seed, does not produce suckers
- soak the seeds for 3 days in lukewarm water
- sow in moist mix
- put the pot in a plastic bag or container to keep the humidity
- 25-30 °C
- germination time: 1 to a few months, up to 2 years: germination is difficult and erratic