Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wild banana ( M. hirta) lilac spikes

As an ornamental plant favourite this wild banana plant called 'pisang lengki' ( M. hirta) by the Ibans is an ideal plant for landscaping because they are relatively short, grow in small clump and produces brilliant lilac bracts and light orange inflorescence.

The leaves of this plant as well as its soft stem ( inner core) can be cooked as vegetables. The terminal spike which contain male flowers and are closed towards the remaining end ( called the 'jantung' in Malay) can be cooked with coconut milk or grilled and eaten as salad, preferably with the famous Bintulu shrimp paste, the belacan.

At the very early stage of flowering, the wild banana flower spike squeezes itself out from the tip of the banana stem showing its beautiful bracts. I hope in later postings I can show more pictures of this plant as it produces more flowers and finally fruits.

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