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Ensete ventricosum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Scientific classification


See text.


Ensete is a genus of flowering plants native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. It is one of the three genera in the banana family, Musaceae, and includes the false banana or enset (E. ventricosum), an economically important foodcrop in Ethiopia.[2]

Taxonomy[change | change source]

The genus Ensete was first described by Paul Fedorowitsch Horaninow (1796-1865) in his Prodromus Monographiae Scitaminarum of 1862 in which he created a single species, Ensete edule. However, the genus did not receive general recognition until 1947 when it was revived by E. E. Cheesman in the first of a series of papers in the Kew Bulletin on the classification of the bananas, with a total of 25 species.[3]

Taxonomically, the genus Ensete has been reduced since Cheesman restore the taxon. Cheesman acknowledged that field study might reveal synonymy and the most recent review of the genus by Simmonds (1960) listed just six.[3] The Plant List Archived 2019-05-23 at the Wayback Machine accepts eight species as valid.

Description[change | change source]

The plants of Ensete are very large herbs without branches that die after producing seeds;[a] They have only one stem that remains short until flowering.[4]

They have very big leaves; the lower parts of the leaves form a false stem so they look as trees. Their fruits are leathery and dry berries with few big and hard seeds.[3]

Species[change | change source]

Ensete superbum at the United States Botanic Garden.

It is possible to separate Ensete into its African and Asian species.[5]

Ensete homblei (Bequart ex De Wild.) Cheesman - SE Democratic Republic of Congo to N Zambia
Ensete livingstonianum (J.Kirk) Cheesman - Western tropical Africa to Malawi
Ensete perrieri (Claverie) Cheesman - endemic to Madagascar
Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman - enset or false banana, widely cultivated as a food plant in Ethiopia
Ensete glaucum (Roxb.) Cheesman - widespread in Asia from India to Papua New Guinea
Ensete lasiocarpum (Franch.) Cheesman - China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma)
Ensete superbum (Roxb.) Cheesman - Western Ghats of India
Ensete wilsonii (Tutcher) Cheesman - Yunnan, China, but doubtfully distinct from E. glaucum

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Those plants thad die after producing fruits and seeds are called ''monocarpic'' plants.

References[change | change source]

  1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kews. "Ensete". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  2. "Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman". Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gerda Rossel and David Constantine (2007). "Ensete home". Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  4. Wu, Delin; Kress, W. John. "Ensete". Flora of China. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  5. "Ensete". The Plant List (2010). Retrieved 22 May 2013.

Other websites[change | change source]