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Common Name: Japanese Banana
Musa basjoo is a Evergreen Perennial up to 3.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
E. Asia - Japan.
Requires a rich soil and a sunny sheltered position[
]. The large leaves are very easily torn by the wind[
This species is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain and even there will require protection in colder winters[
]. It thrives and fruits in south-western Britain[
] where it survived the very severe winters of 1985 to 1987[
Plants are herbaceous and die down after flowering, forming new shoots from the roots.
Cultivated in Japan as a fibre plant[
The nectar of the flowers is sweet and drinkable[
The roots are diuretic, febrifuge and sialagogue[
]. A decoction is used in the treatment of beriberi, constipation, jaundice, dropsy, restlessness due to heat, leucorrhoea and croton bean poisoning[
The leaves are diuretic[
A fibre is obtained from the leaf stems[
]. Used for cloth, sails etc[
]. The fibre can also be used for making paper[
] The leaves are harvested in summer and are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill for 4½ hours before being made into paper[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse[
]. The seed usually germinates rapidly. Pre-soak stored seed for 72 hours in warm water, if it is still floating then it is not viable. Sow in a warm greenhouse in spring, planting one large seed in each pot. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 24 weeks at 22°c[
]. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for at least 3 years before trying them outdoors. The seed remains viable for 2 years[
Removal of suckers as the plant comes into growth in spring.