Scientific name: Musa paradisiacal. Name in different languages:- English: Plantain, Banana, French plantain, Yellow plantain. French: Bananier. German: Banane. Hindi: Kela. Italian: banana. Japanese: banana. Russian: banan. Sanskrit: Kadalirhamba. Spanish: Banano, platano. Tamil: Vazhai. Malayalam: Vazha.
A plantain tree with a bunch of plantain fruit is something that makes all of us happy. A lot of questions may arise regarding the medicinal value of plantain tree. Bananas are dried and powdered and given to small children as a medicine. The Chengadali variety is a good medicine for small inflammations that happen to the tender skin (mucus membrane) in the small intestine. The juice extracted from the core of the plantain stem is a good cure to lower hypertension. The cultivation has to be done scientifically. Avoid heavy monsoon and summer season and the month of August is ideal for cultivating plantain. Low lying areas with cold conditions should be selected to cultivate. The soil should be rich in manure and there should be enough irrigation facility.
Different varieties of bananas and plantains are cultivated today. While buying the shoot of the plantain tree, care must be given to get it fromreliable places. Also the shoots must be disease free. Nedunendhran, Chengalikodan, Dancybar etc. are varieties of bananas (Nendran). These varieties have peculiar features in the size, shape and taste of the bananas. In plantains, there are lots of varieties like the Njalipoovan, Palayamkodan, Poovan, Koombillakkannan, Robusta, Chengadali etc. Apart from the fruit, the inner core of the stem and the buds are also foods rich in nutritive value.
The shoot of the plantain tree selected for cultivation must be healthy enough. The shoots of 4 months growth are used for planting. The pit made to plant it, should be half a meter long, wide and deep. While planting , 5 cm of the shoot must be seen outside the pit. While planting Nendran, Palayamkodan, Chengadhali, Poovan varieties, the distance between each plant must be 2 meters and for varieties like Robusta ,Gromichelle, the distance should be two and half meters. Soil can be mixed with 20 kg of compost or animal manure. Also 5 kg of vermiform compost, 1 kg of peanut oil cake, should be added every 15 days, near the roots, for 4 times. Watering and plucking off weeds must be done regularly and care should be given to keep the plants free of disease. If any plants are noticed with diseases, then they should be burnt immediately. Some beetles are found to attack the plantain tree. Such beetles must be collected and destroyed. If we add neem oil cake to the soil while planting, then diseases can be kept off. Also adding neem leaves, helps to destroy worms.