Tree Friend – Dwarf Cavendish
Dwarf Cavendish (Musa acuminata)
- Average expected life of tree – The Dwarf Cavendish is not actually a tree, it is an evergreen, perennial, herbaceous plant. The base of the plant is the corm and from the corm pseudostems grow. Each pseudostem produces a flower which then bears the banana fruit. Once the fruit has matured the ‘stem’ dies. The corm continues to produce new ‘stems’ commonly referred to as ‘suckers’. With the appropriate care banana ‘stems’ will continue to grow from the corm for many, many years. For example, we have Lady Finger bananas in our garden now that came from a corm we planted 23 years ago.
- Years until trees first fruit – A banana ‘stem’ can produce fruit in 9 to 12 months.
- Season of year when productive tree fruits. A banana plant can bear fruit all year given the right conditions i.e. prefers temperatures between 23 – 33°c.
- Expected or average number years tree expected to fruit for once it begins. – The pseudostem fruits once and then dies. The corm produces more pseudostems and each ‘stem’ will flower and produce fruit.
- Country/area of origin – Native to Southeast Asia
- Average annual rainfall in area of origin – Grows best with between 1200mm and 3600mm annual rainfall.
- Latin name of tree and family – Latin Name: Musa acuminata – Family: Musaceae
- Any other products, benefits, useful or interesting facts about of tree:
- The flowers, young shoots and leaves are all edible.
- There are reports of the different parts of the banana plant being used for medicinal purposes e.g. unripe fruit to treat diarrhoea, poultice of the leaves to treat burns.
- The leaves, bark and shoots produce a fibre which can be used for making cloth, rugs and paper.
- Height, width and shape of tree at maturity.
- Height of pseudostem – 2-3 meters
- Diameter of pseudostem – up to 30cm
- Length of leaves – up to 2 meters
- Width of leaves – up to 60cm
- Challenges or special requirements.
- One of the greatest challenges for the Dwarf Cavendish is disease. For example, this plant is susceptible to Panama disease which has been responsible for wiping out entire plantations.
- The Dwarf Cavendish is a hungry plant and needs to be well fed and watered. In some tropical permaculture gardens banana circles are created with compost pits in the centre. The compost provides nutrients for the banana plants. Building an outdoor shower over the pit can also assist with the water needs of the plant and makes use of the shower water run-off.
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