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|Ensete superbum at the United States Botanic Garden|
Musella (Franch.) C.Y. Wu
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 foodcrop in Ethiopia.
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.
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 lasiocarpum (Franch.) Cheesman - China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma)
- 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
- Constantine, D. R. & Rossel, G. (1999): 
- IPNI Listing
- Enset as a crop (UNEUE)
- Enset Culture (UNEUE)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science - The Tree Against Hunger: Enset-based Agricultural Systems in Ethiopia.
- Oxfam - Holes in the Safety Net
- "A study on Esset as a means of existence, social organization and ethnical identification for the Gurage people", Master's thesis, University of Tromsø (2009)
- Kew Plant List