Bananas and other giant plants
The best known members of the ginger order (Zingiberales) are the banana, heliconia, and ginger families. They are found in the humid tropics and subtropics. We call them giant herbaceous plants because they do not produce wood and yet they can reach the size of a tree. Because of their rapid growth, they fill open spaces in the rainforest very quickly.
The banana (Musa) is the main genus of the banana family (Musaceae). Bananas are indispensable in the local and international economy, either as a food source or for fibre. Meise Botanic Garden has a collection of about 20 different species, which is being studied by researchers from Meise Botanic Garden and KU Leuven. The research focuses on the genetic origin of cultivated bananas.
The spiral ginger family (Costaceae), with the main genus Costus, also constitutes an important scientific collection of the Botanic Garden, with more than 40 different species.
During a walk through the Plant Palace, you will come across these and many other giant herbaceous plants. You will find them in the greenhouse of the Tropical Rainforest in particular. In the greenhouse of the Anthropogenic Biome, you will find species of economic importance.