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Stories from the farm - a closer look at the people, the place and the bio-diversity at 5EyesFarm

Bananas

—01

The humble banana is not a fruit but a berry! Furthermore, it is not a tree but a herb!
Yes, a banana plant is technically a large herb, distantly related to ginger. It is considered a herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem the way a tree does. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk (or pseudo-stem).

“Believe it or not, bananas do contain a small quantity of Musa Sapientum bananadine, which is a mild, short-lasting psychedelic”.    

William Powell

—02

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from non-tropical  countries there live over a dozen species of the venerable banana/ plaintan. And there are many uses for the humble, delicious banana:

Most bananas are cooking bananas or plaintans.

There are loads of medicinal uses of the banana plant, stem, fruit & flowers each offering different remedies and treatments. Some ancient treatments from rare banana stem heal kidneys, others are good for digestion. 

A ‘banana circle’ that makes good compost. These are mostly naturally formed with a mother banana and her offspring gathering into a circle. We discovered a few at the farm that had grown by themselves. Inside the circle if there is a slight hollow that is filled with the dead leaves of the plants then a very rich compost develops. Here is more info on banana circles…

We are making a nice banana wine (as it is technically a berry).

—03

There are hundreds of banana varieties, but only a select few are available at your local grocery store. You are probably most familiar with the Cavendish. This is the most common banana (small banana laying on large plantain in the picture) available and the one with which you’re most familiar. The wide availability of this banana variety is due to its long shelf life and resistance to disease. You can do just about anything with this banana: eat it raw, sauté it, bake it, blend it, etc.

—04

Contrary to popular understanding, bananas are not fruits, they are berries. And the plant is not a tree. It’s a herb, botanically speaking. At 5EyesFarm we have planted nearly 200 bananas across eight prised species. These serve as support to the forest garden trees while they are saplings and also fill out that mid height layer of the food forest.

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