. . ★ . . :: The banana is called Mai'a in Hawaii . . Here on Maui there are more than 70 varieties of Musa paradisiaca. Some are ornamental . Some are large with yellow and green stripes . Others are very small and super sweet tasting like a combination of banana and pineapple . Locals call them apple banana . they are my personal favourite and excellent eaten fresh from the tree and in fruit smoothies . . Descendants of the early plants are now growing wild in protected valleys, stream gullies and mountain slopes. This common edible fruit native to the tropics ripens all year. Bananas are not really a tree, but are a gigantic herb, being a member of the grass family, like wheat, rye and barley. The fibrous stems, trunks that may be as tall as 20 feet, are up to 8 inches in diameter and are made up of overlapping leaf bases (sheaths). A cross section of the succulent trunk looks like a huge onion slice. The leaves are spirally arranged, rising higher than the stems. Tightly rolled at first, they push their way outward, lubricated by a white waxy powder. The leaf stems become thick, with smooth large blades, usually 4 or more feet long and 1-2 feet wide. These are entire at first, appearing as large rounded blades. They soon split along parallel side veins to appear like a large feather. Wind assists the process. `A `ohe hua o ka mai`a i ka la ho`okahi :: . . ★ . .
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