Musaceae (Banana family)
Description. Perennial herbaceous plant with a pseudostem, reaching 1.3-1.6 m (4.3-5.2 ft) in height. Oblong, linear leaves 0.9-1.1 m (3-3.6 ft) long by up to 36 cm (14 in) wide. Flowers with showy, pale pink bracts are produced in erect inflorescences. In the axil of each basal bract, 3-5 hermaphroditic flowers are borne. Orange-yellow male flowers usually fall off along with their bracts. Fruit bunches consist of 5 hands, averaging 4 fruits per hand. Pink, pubescent fruits 6-8 cm (2.4-3 in) long by 3-4 cm (1.2-1.6 in) wide. Mature fruits split open and expose the whitish pulp with numerous hard black seeds.
Benefits Of: PINK BANANA Photo Gallery
Origin and Distribution. Native from the province of Assam in northeastern India to northern Myanmar. Widely cultivated in the tropics as an ornamental banana. effort is required to discard the inedible, hard seeds. The pulp is sometimes used to make banana vinegar. Comments. The plant, also known by the synonym M. dasycarpa, can be invasive and has become a pest in certain regions of the wet tropics. Seeds are easily spread by birds, bats, and mammals, and the plant additionally reproduces asexually through suckers. Food uses. Fully ripe fruits have a soft, sweet flesh. Fruits are occasionally eaten out of hand, though some Description. Small shrubby tree, evergreen, slow growing, 8-12 m (26-39 ft) tall. Leaves opposite, lanceolate to elliptic, 3-9 cm (1.2-3.5 in) long by 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) wide, dark green and glossy. Newly produced leaves are salmon-colored. Flowers are produced in great numbers along the trunk and branches. With its spectacular appearance when flowering, the jaboticaba is an impressive example of a cauliflorous plant. Flowers white with 4 hairy petals and 50-60 stamens. Grapelike fruits single or in clusters, spherical or ellipsoid, 2-4 cm (0.8-1.6 in) in diameter with smooth, glossy red-purple or very dark purple skin. Pulp subacid to sweet, juicy, translucent to white or pinkish with several small seeds. Origin and Distribution. The jaboticaba is native to seasonally dry regions of tropical and subtropical Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, and to northeastern Argentina and Uruguay. The tree is cultivated in many tropical countries for its fruits and also for its high ornamental value. It grows in tropical and warm subtropical climates and is very common in the region of Rio de Janeiro.
Food uses. The ripe fruits, often seen in Brazilian markets, are usually eaten fresh. The astringent-tasting skin, which is rich in tannins, is often discarded and just the pulp sucked out. Jaboticabas are also used to make jellies, marmalade, and tarts. The pulp is made into juice or fermented into wine.
Comments. In Brazil, the two closely related species M. tenella and M. trunciflora are grown for their edible fruits, which are also called jaboticabas.
Tannin-rich, sun-dried skins of jaboticaba fruits are used in traditional medicine to treat diarrhea, asthma, and inflammation of the tonsils. The fruits are rich in antioxidants. The very slow-growing tree is used for bonsai in eastern Asia.
Description. Small bushy tree or shrub, 3-6 m (1020 ft) tall. Evergreen, opposite, elliptic to ovate leaves 5-11 cm (2-4.4 in) long by 2-5 cm (0.8-2 in) wide. Fragrant white flowers with numerous stamens are borne in the axils of leaves. Globose fruits, 2-3 cm (0.4-1.2 in) wide, reddish-purple to dark purple with soft, thin skin. Transparent, juicy pulp very acidic to fairly sweet, normally with 3 seeds. Origin and Distribution. The tree grows naturally in the tropical Amazon lowlands of Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. It often forms dominant stands in seasonally flooded vegetation along rivers and lakes or in swampy areas. Camu camu trees can withstand prolonged seasonal floodings. It requires a tropical or warm subtropical climate without frosts and with evenly distributed precipitation and high humidity. Camu camu fruits are still collected mainly from wild trees along rivers and lakes, often by boat. In the Peruvian Amazon provinces of Loreto and Ucayali, the tree is occasionally cultivated in plantations. Very rarely grown outside its natural range. Food uses. The fruits are too sour to eat out of hand. They are commonly blended with sugar and ice to make fruit drinks. The juice is also used to make jellies and to flavor ice cream, sherbet, sweets, and yogurt. Comments. The fruit is known for its extraordinarily high content of vitamin C. Fruits can contain up to 3,000 mg (0.11 oz) of this vitamin, about 30 times more than an orange and almost as much as the famed acerola (Malpighia emarginata, p. 145). The fruits are also high in flavonoids, calcium, iron, and the amino acids valine, leucine, and serine. It has recently become a focal point for natural food industries because of its high vitamin C content and possible antioxidant activity. Processed into powder and capsules, it is internationally sold as a health food and vitamin supplement.
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