Uses of Banana Leaves
Bananas are a sweet treat filled with potassium and vitamin C, but the fruit is not the only useful part of the banana plant. Banana leaves can be beneficial as well and are used for cooking and healing purposes.
Banana leaves are large and palpable, so they can be used in cooking. People in Asian countries use the banana leaf to wrap meats while cooking so that the meat will be especially tender, according to the Reader's Digest website. The leaves are also used to store food or line a cooking pit while meats are being prepared.
Banana leaves in their young stage can be made into a poultice for treating burns, according to Purdue University. The Department of Horticulture at Purdue University also asserts that banana leaves are effective for preventing the growth of ulcers and are a suitable diarrhea treatment: "The astringent ashes of the unripe peel and of the leaves are taken in dysentery and diarrhea and used for treating malignant ulcers."
Banana leaves can also be used to shield oneself from the rain; according to Purdue University, Latin Americans often hold banana leaves upside down over their backs or heads to serve as umbrellas. The leaves of the Fehi banana can also be used to package items or as cigarette wrappers.
Insects That Eat Banana Leaves
Aphids, commonly known as plant lice, are tiny insects that are extremely damaging to fruit crops in temperate climates. Many different kinds of aphids can damage a banana crop. The banana tree will show curling leaves and leaf drop. Wash off aphids from the undersides of leaves with a strong spray of water from a garden hose. Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids. The banana skipper (Pelopidas thrax) is a tiny moth that loves to feast on banana leaves. A soft-bodied tiny insect, they are a persistant problem in banana plantations worldwide. The banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) is an invasive insect that infests banana trees, feasting on the trunk and leaves. The banana weevil is native to southeast Asia but is now found in banana crops around the world. Ants are natural predators of banana weevils.
- Nutrition Data: Bananas, Raw
- Purdue University: Banana-Other Uses
- Reader's Digest: 9 Uncommon Uses for Bananas
- University of Hawaii at Monoa: Banana Aphids
- University of Hawaii Extension: Banana General Information
- Queensland Government: Banana Weevil Borer
- TNAU Agritech Portal: Crop Insect Pests: Bananas
- Washington State University Cooperative Extension: Aphids
- Biology Teaching Resources: Weevils