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Ensete lasiocarpa (golden lotus banana)

The golden lotus banana is a small but stunning member of the banana family.
Ensete lasiocarpa inflorescence spreading its showy yellow bracts to expose the flowers in their axils

Ensete lasiocarpa inflorescence spreading its showy yellow bracts to expose the flowers in their axils (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Species information

Common name: 

golden lotus banana, Chinese dwarf banana, Chinese yellow banana

Conservation status: 

Not yet assessed by the IUCN.

Habitat: 

Mixed conifer-oak forest at 1,500 to 2,500 m above sea level.

Key Uses: 

Sacred plant, food, textiles.

Known hazards: 

None.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Zingiberales
Family: 
Musaceae
Genus: Ensete

About this species

With its inflorescence resembling a lotus flower in bud and lasting up to 250 days, the golden lotus banana has become a sacred plant of Buddhist monks in the tropical region of Yunnan.

Previously known as Musa lasiocarpa, it has recently been transferred to the genus Ensete based on an analysis of DNA sequence evidence published in the journal Taxon by Ai-Zhong Liu, W. John Kress & De-Zhu Li in February 2010. This conclusion has now been questioned in a 2010 publication by Li et al. who suggest that Musella lasiocarpa may indeed be the correct name. Further studies are needed to provide clarity on the relationships within the banana family (Musaceae).

Synonym: 

Musella lasiocarpa

Genus: 
Ensete

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