Ensete superbum (Roxb.)

Ensete superbum (Roxb.) Cheesman  (MUSACEAE)
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Common name

Kannada: Kallu bale.

Description: Erect plants, 3-4 m tall, the pseudostem 1-2 m tall, with an swollen base of 2-3 m in circumference at the base, narrowed to ca 1 m below the leaves. Leaves alternate, oblong-lanceolate, ca 1.5 x 0.5 m, acute, acuminate or retuse at apex, bright green on both sides; petioles very short, deeply channeled; leaf scars persistent. Flowers in a terminal peduncled spike, globose at first ca 30 cm in diam., elongating or drooping later; bracts orbicular, ca 20 x 15 cm, dark brown-red, subtend dense biseriate rows each of 10-15 cm, upper clusters male, lower female. Perianth lobes 6 in two rows. Stamens usually 5. Ovary inferior, 3-locular; style filiform; stigma subglobose, 6-lobed. Fruit a trigonous berry, ca 7.5 x 4 cm subcoriaceous, pale yellow/cream color when ripe. Seeds many, subglobose, 0.8-1.5 cm in diam., dark brown. The plant dies down to an underground corn in the dry season and forms new leaves at the beginning of the monsoon.

Flowering & Fruiting : September – March.

Distribution: India: South W. India. Common on steep rocky slopes of the Western Ghats. Endemic.

Uses:  The leaves are used for making platters, and for wrapping food. The flesh of the fruit is given in diabetes; seed used in the treatment of dysentery and kidney stone.