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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Zingiberales

Familia: Musaceae
Genus: Ensete
Species: E. glaucum – E. homblei – E. lecongkietii – E. livingstonianum – E. perrieri – E. superbum – E. ventricosum
Paleospecies: †E. oregonense

Ensete Bruce ex Horan., Prodr. Monogr. Scitam. 8, 40. (1862)
Type species: Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman, Kew Bull. 2: 101 (1947 publ. 1948)


Mnasium Stackh., Extr. Bruce' s Travels: 18 (1815), nom. illeg.


Bruce, J. 1862. Prodromus Monographiae Scitaminearum Additis Nonnullis de Phytographia, de Monocotyleis et Orchideis 8, 40.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Ensete in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Mar. 5. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Ensete. Published online. Accessed: Mar. 5 2021.
Manchester, S.R. 1994. Fruits and seeds of the Middle Eocene Nut Beds Flora, Clarno Formation, Oregon. Palaeontographica Americana 58: 1–205. 2014. Ensete. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2014 Feb. 5.

Vernacular names
English: Ethiopian Banana
suomi: Etiopianbanaanit

Ensete is a genus of monocarpic flowering plants native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. It is one of the two genera in the banana family, Musaceae, and includes the false banana or enset (E. ventricosum), an economically important food crop in Ethiopia.[1][2][3]


The genus Ensete was first described by Paul Fedorowitsch Horaninow (1796–1865) in his Prodromus Monographiae Scitaminarum of 1862 in which he created a single species, Ensete edule. However, the genus did not receive general recognition until 1947 when it was revived by E. E. Cheesman in the first of a series of papers in the Kew Bulletin on the classification of the bananas, with a total of 25 species.[4]

Taxonomically, the genus Ensete has shrunk since Cheesman revived the taxon. Cheesman acknowledged that field study might reveal synonymy and the most recent review of the genus by Simmonds (1960) listed just six. Recently the number has increased to seven as the Flora of China has, not entirely convincingly, reinstated Ensete wilsonii. There is one species in Thailand, somewhat resembling E. superbum, that has not been formally described, and possibly other Asian species.

It is possible to separate Ensete into its African and Asian species.

Ensete gilletii
Ensete homblei
Ensete perrieri – endemic to Madagascar but intriguingly like the Asian E. glaucum
Ensete ventricosum – enset or false banana, widely cultivated as a food plant in Ethiopia

Ensete glaucum – widespread in Asia from India to Papua New Guinea
Ensete superbum – Western Ghats of India
Ensete wilsonii – Yunnan, China, but doubtfully distinct from E. glaucum
Ensete sp. "Thailand" – possibly a new species or a disjunct population of E. superbum

See also

List of Ethiopian dishes and foods
List of Southern African indigenous trees
Musa (genus)
Musella lasiocarpa


Wilkin, Paul; Demissew, Sebsebe; Willis, Kathy; Woldeyes, Feleke; Davis, Aaron P.; Molla, Ermias L.; Janssens, Steven; Kallow, Simon; Berhanu, Admas (2019). "Enset in Ethiopia: a poorly characterized but resilient starch staple". Annals of Botany. 123 (5): 747–766. doi:10.1093/aob/mcy214. PMC 6526316. PMID 30715125.
RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
"Uses of Enset". The 'Tree Against Hunger': Enset-Based Agricultural Systems in Ethiopia. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1997. Archived from the original on 19 August 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
Cheesman, E. E. 1947. Classification of the bananas. I. The genus Ensete Horan and the genus Musa L. Kew Bulletin (GBR), 2: 97-117

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