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10 Uses of Banana Trees

I am very passionate about studying plants and flowers. I love to garden in my free time.

Banana plants.

Banana plants.

Do Bananas Grow on Trees?

Bananas are produced in tall plants, which are often mistaken as trees. They actually have pseudostems formed from leaf sheaths. Apart from producing sweet fruits, the plants have many different uses. In fact, almost all the parts of a banana plant are useful.

In the U.S., I have seen mostly the soft and sweet bananas that usually have brown spots on them when they ripen. But, in South India, there are many different varieties of bananas you can find, including those with red skin.

Whatever the variety of the fruit, every part of a banana plant has some use. Here you can read about 10 uses of banana plants.

Uses of Banana Trees

  1. You can eat edible sweet bananas.
  2. You can eat edible banana fruit peels.
  3. You can even eat the stem.
  4. You can use stem fibres as natural craft materials.
  5. You can use banana plant fibres to make garments.
  6. Banana leaves can be used as natural leaf platters.
  7. Steamed banana leaves can be used for packing your lunch.
  8. You can use steamed banana leaves to make wrapped desserts.
  9. Banana flowers are edible.
  10. Banana plant rhizomes have many medicinal uses.

1. Edible Sweet Bananas

Of course, the first use is definitely the sweet and healthy fruits from the plants, which you can eat raw as a delicious dessert or use to cook or bake. The addition of bananas in cakes and desserts gives them a rich, moist texture and adds natural sweetness, thus reducing the need for additional, artificial white sugar.

Bananas are rich in potassium, thus including them daily in your diet can help you control your blood pressure naturally.

Gluten-Free Banana Flour

There is even gluten-free and healthy banana flour made from dried bananas, available to buy. The flour is made from green bananas, so it is grain-free and is paleo diet friendly, too.

In India, homemade banana flour is usually used to prepare baby food. You can try using banana flour as a replacement in many baking recipes if you are allergic to gluten. Gluten-free pancakes, cakes and muffins can be made from banana flour, which is also rich in potassium and other vitamins and minerals.

Ripe yellow bananas.

Ripe yellow bananas.

2. Edible Banana Fruit Peels

Banana peels are edible. Most of us may not like the idea of eating them, but they are a great, natural and healthy food loved by cows. You can feed the cattle with banana peels, or you can use them as a natural fertilizer in your garden. The nutrients in the peel enrich the soil, making it more fertile and suitable for the growth of plants.

And you can use the peels for cooking too, as they are tasty and healthy. Please note that we do not usually use the peels of ripe bananas for cooking, but we often use the green peels of bananas that are about to ripen soon.

Are Plaintains Bananas?

If you ever use plantains, a variety of cooking bananas, save the peels for a stir fry. The edible peels of raw plantains are the most perfect to be used in a stir fry. Just don't overcook the peels, but sauté them in the pan for a few minutes along with salt and your favourite spices, and you have a healthy, nutrient-rich and tasty side dish for lunch! This is a popular dish in many parts of South India.

Banana plant stem.

Banana plant stem.

3. Edible Stem

Banana plant stems are edible, healthy and rich in fibres. Drinking juice made of banana plant stems is thought to control blood sugar levels, and so it is great for those who have diabetes. But you don't have to cut your banana plant for that. Many of the plants naturally fall off after a while, mainly as a result of rain and winds. In that case, you don't have to throw away the stem, but use them for food.

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If you don't like the idea of juicing the stems of banana plants, here is another traditional recipe:

  1. Remove the outer skins, so you get the white stem inside.
  2. Cut them into round slices, remove the fibres that project out.
  3. Chop the slices very finely, mix with grated coconut and stir fry along with turmeric and salt.

This dish is full of fibre and it is healthy for anyone who eats them. The only thing you may find difficult is the process of removing the extra fibres from the slices. But once that is done, cooking is really easy and the addition of grated coconut makes the recipe really tasty.

Below you can see an image of the edible, white fleshy part of the banana stem.

The edible, fleshy part of the banana stem.

The edible, fleshy part of the banana stem.

4. Stem Fibres as Natural Craft Materials

The fibres from the outer skin of the banana stems can be used as natural threads. You don't have to cut the stem for that. Simply pinch the outer skin of the stem and you will be able to pull it around like a silky thread. It can be used to tie flower garlands or lei, most popularly used for making jasmine garlands by flower vendors. The threads are also useful in crafts, like basket making and more.

5. Banana Plant Fibres to Make Garments

The fine threads from the banana stems can also be used to make clothes. The threads are usually blended with cotton to make beautiful and smooth fabrics suitable to make garments.

6. Banana Leaves Can Be Used as Natural Leaf Platters

Banana leaves are large and long enough to serve a full meal with lots of dishes. If you have four or five banana plants in your garden, you can get plenty of banana leaves.

Traditionally, banana leaves were used to serve food in South India, especially for serving feasts known as sadya in marriages and other celebrations. When feasts are arranged for so many guests where there is a need to purchase so many banana leaf platters, there are local vendors in South India who sell fresh banana leaves, which we can buy and use for serving food. They can be easily disposed of after lunch or dinner, and since they are natural plant leaves they are eco-friendly too. By cutting leaves from the plants, you do not harm their growth, and you help the planet by using biodegradable leaf platters.

And most importantly, they look fresh, green and beautiful on the table.

On one side of the leaf, usually, the main dish or rice is served. And on the other side, so many side dishes can be served. This way, you can serve so many dishes for the feast in the same leaf, without messing them in any way!

Traditional feast served in banana leaf.

Traditional feast served in banana leaf.

7. Steamed Banana Leaves for Packing Lunch

Banana leaves can be steamed and used for packing lunch, especially dry food items like cooked rice. It was once very common among children to pack lunches in steamed banana leaves, which actually adds a nice flavour to the food.

Fine threads from the banana stem itself were used to tie the packed lunch in banana leaf. Holding the leaf near to the flames will make it really soft and foldable in seconds.

8. Steamed Banana Leaves to Make Wrapped Desserts

As I mentioned earlier, when banana leaves are shown near flames they will become soft, smooth and foldable. To make some traditional desserts, the dough is put inside small pieces of steamed banana leaves, then folded and steamed again using a steamer to prepare the dessert.

9. Edible Banana Flowers

Banana flowers are healthy and edible. Just like the stem, they have so many fibres in them, some of which you will have to remove. When you use the flowers for cooking, don't use the small little yellow flowers that you see inside, just use the large brown purple coloured layers that you see.

Try to chop the purple part so finely, the extra fibres will come out, which you can remove by hand. With practice, this should be pretty easy to do.

You can stir fry the chopped flowers with grated coconut and spices, just like you can do with the stem. Banana flowers are rich in fibres and antioxidants and including them in your diet can be so healthy for you.

Banana flowers.

Banana flowers.

10. Banana Plant Rhizomes: Medicinal Uses and Means of Propagation

Banana plant roots are rhizomes that have many medicinal uses and they are traditionally used in many medicines in Ayurveda. Other than that, obviously, the most important use of the rhizomes is to propagate the plants.

New banana plants naturally grow from the roots of older plants. You can either leave them like that or if too crowded, you can dig them out and plant them separately.

How to Avoid Banana Plant Sap

While handling banana flowers, stems or even the unripe green bananas, the sap from the plant may stick to your hand skin. To avoid this, you can use gloves while cutting them. Otherwise, you can easily remove the sap from your hand by rubbing with a little coconut oil and then washing with mild soap and water.

If you want to share any other uses of banana plants, feel free to share them in the comment section!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Vibha v Shetty on August 08, 2020:

Tqsm for this information

Marty on March 14, 2020:

Faith reaper,

Bananas bear fruit in the second year. If the main stalk freezes back or is cut down befor the second year it can not bloom and bear fruit. After it bears fruit that plant will die but small ones will come up from the roots.

nyerex on January 15, 2020:

juice from banana stem can speed up the healing of wounds or cuts ..Self discovery.

bob on November 14, 2019:

thats cool

Elijah on October 14, 2019:

These are some fasenating facts

Orlando Huaman on June 22, 2019:

I read a lot about banana pseudo-stem uses, You do have some extra ones. I also learned today that in Indonesia they use the pseudo-stem to grow vegetables. Apparently they make holes on the whole length of the stem am fill it (with soil ? and put vegetables in it, like Chinesse cabbage, how about tomatoes.?

Deborah on April 02, 2019:

banana leaves make great wraps for tamales.

pepper215 on March 21, 2019:

Hi, maybe you can add uses of banana parts (peels, flower, trunk, etc.) as biomass and also after it is processed. :)

Fe Bernabe on December 08, 2018:

Banana stem are also used as substitute for floral foam and used by florists.

Ankit on December 04, 2018:

Well, it is so important for every person use all parts of the banana plant because we could bake plethora of dishes help by the plants

Dominic Kuonza on November 06, 2018:

This have made may research interesting

Mike Werry on October 15, 2018:

I have seen these used in Bali, Indonesia, where when building cement and rock support walls in hilly conditions the banana trunk/branch is inserted through the wall while it hardens and sets. It then becomes the future drainage holes. It rots away quite quickly and allows water to pass down.

Devinder Sharma on February 25, 2018:

No doubt Violet Rose has given such an exhaustive treatise on banana. She has dipped into Ayurveda to embellish the information. There was one thing that can be added by her and for the one befit of readers, is that the banana stem is one of the most amazing detox agent. For that purpose it's juice is the best way of consuming it followed by sauting small/bite sized pieces of banana stem and seasoned to taste.

Another good/receipe favoured in northern parts of the country is raw rounds of bannana fried along with potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Seasoning to personal preference - monkey nuts, cashew nuts, sliced green chillies, til seeds etc. If you don't like the sweet is taste dry cut bannana rounded for an hour before trying. Goes well with chappaties, pranthas and accompanying rice.

od favoured in North India is

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 24, 2018:

With beans and chicken, the banana stems are really tasty.

ram on December 29, 2017:


Kyle on December 22, 2017:

Ahundred percent perfect for my thesis

Rita ghalley on November 11, 2017:

In fact, the juice of the stem is also used as anti-toxic too.

If you get bitten by a less venomous snake or reptile, you don't have to go search a doctor for this.

bj on October 13, 2017:

I tasted some of the water (sap) from the center of the trunk. It is the most bitter thing by far I have ever tasted. Yuck! Awful. It sucks the moisture right out of your tongue. Try and drink that? You've got to be kidding.

Sri on August 22, 2017:

How come every thing is edible besides the leaves

ann stevens on July 31, 2017:

are banana leaves good to use as mulch on the garden?

Sophia Eve Peabody on May 11, 2017:

Wow I didn't know that banana tree stems we're edible

clyde on December 15, 2016:

this is perfect for my project

Lily on October 28, 2016:

Very nice, whoever you are. Though I already know everything. It's good for kids to learn.

ECOz Life Sciences on August 24, 2016:

Looking to the various benefits, even juice from every part can be extracted to drink for better health.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 29, 2016:

I know all of the uses you mentioned above except that I did not know that we can eat the stem of banana plant. Thanks for the information.

Asit debnath on April 26, 2016:

Having 100 banana trees & 10 jackfruit (all season types) can take care 50% of a poor family's vegetable & fruit needs in about 0.2 acre land.wonder why people having 10 acre agri land commit suicide.

VioletteRose (author) from Atlanta on December 10, 2014:

Hi DDE, I am very glad to hear that you learned so much about banana plants from this hub! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

VioletteRose (author) from Atlanta on December 10, 2014:

Hi aesta1, I didn't know about the banana flower salad recipe, that must be very healthy. Thanks so much for reading!

VioletteRose (author) from Atlanta on December 10, 2014:

Hi AliciaC, thanks so much for reading! These are very healthy too :)

VioletteRose (author) from Atlanta on December 10, 2014:

Hi FaithReaper, thank you so much for reading! I have seen plants that look like banana plants with flowers, few of them I had in my garden. They didn't have any fruits, but had beautiful flowers and leaves, so they must be decorative ornamental plants.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 09, 2014:

Brilliant and such lovely hub. I learned so much more about this great plant. I like the photos and a well-approached hub indeed.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 08, 2014:

I love banana flower salad. I just have to learn how to prepare it. It is hard to find fresh ones where we are and also the stalk but I indulge in these when I am in Asia. Really good for you.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 08, 2014:

This hub is very interesting and useful. I never realized that so much of the banana plant was edible or that the plant had so many uses! Thank you for sharing all the facts.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 08, 2014:

I had no clue as to the many uses of the banana plants! Thank you for sharing all of this, very interesting indeed. When we lived in the city, we had a pool in the backyard and there were so many tropical plants surrounding the pool, and many looked just like these banana plants, well, as least the leaves did. I do not think they were banana plants though, as I never say bananas growing on them, but beautiful bright color large flowers. They grew really tall, and then we would cut them down during the winter and they would grow back tall the next summer.

Wonderful hub.

VioletteRose (author) from Atlanta on December 08, 2014:

Thanks for reading Marina7! I now live in an apartment where I have only balcony, so I do not grow them. I grew up in a place where we had lots of these in our garden, and yes I too watered the banana plants and cared for them. It was mostly someone else who planted those, even though I have tried that quite a few times. Now also we have banana plants growing in my parents home.

Marina from Clarksville TN on December 08, 2014:

This is good to know. Do you grow your own banana plants?

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