The Banana plant has voluminous, long, graceful leaves. An underground stem called a rhizome forms the Banana plant’s false “trunk” which produces the leaves. The whole Banana plant is useful in food, feed, pharmaceutical, packaging, furniture, interior décor, jewelry beads, jewelry and accessories and many other industrial applications.
Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world. They are members of the genus Musa (part of the family Musaceae). It is believed that there are almost one thousand varieties of bananas in the world. The most commonly known banana is the Cavendish variety, which is the one produced for export markets.
Not really a tree, the banana grows as a herbaceous plant. The Bananas are botanically a berry, making them a fruit and an herb. Bananas are suspected to be the first fruit in the earth by some horticulturists. The origin of the Banana is believed to have been in Southeast Asia, in the jungles of Malaysia, Indonesia or Philippines, where so many varieties of wild Bananas still grow today.
Banana fiber looks like bamboo fiber and ramie fiber. It is strong, shiny, lightweight and bio-degradable. It can even absorb moisture very efficiently. Banana fiber has always been utilized for making ropes and mats. Today due to its many qualities and popularity, the fashion industry is rapidly making use of this fiber in clothing and home furnishings. Banana leaves are also used as fuel, and substrate (a surface on which an organism grows) to grow oyster mushrooms.
Banana plant’s coarse outer layer is commonly used for woven tablecloths, cushions, seating, and curtains, while the inner, silky layer is ideal for fine saris, kimonos, and eco-couture designs. In Brazil, the Banana plant fiber left over after the plant has born its fruit is called “Bananaplac.” “Bananaplac” production has created an extra source of income for the Banana farmers in that country. The placs of fiber are mixed with natural resin; the end result exotic and beautiful eco-friendly jewelry.
In India, the Banana plant is called Kalpataru (plant of all virtues) due to the versatile use of all its parts. In the southern parts of India, serving food on Banana leaves is considered very religious, and auspicious in traditional households, thus, turning into biodegradable dining plates. Buddhist believe Buddha named the Banana to be the symbol of the futility of earthly possessions.