Musa Red Iholene

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Cultivar Name

Musa 'red iholene'


Iholena Lele



(credit the flying dutchman)


(credit Gabe15)


One of the most ornamental of all banana plants, and this one bears fine-tasting fruit. This hawaiian cultivar has leaves that are burgundy colored on their lower surface to match the red-pink pseudostem. Being of a modest height, it is suited to both the landscape and greenhouse where it makes a beautiful specimen. The unripe fruit skin starts out pale yellow and should not be picked until it is very ripe. This is a close relative of musa 'White Iholene' and musa 'Ha'a' wich is the dwarf form of the 'Iholene' group. Lele means 'to fly' and is one of the comonnest wild bananas of the uplands on all the islands of Hawaii. It has a tall slender, tapering trunk with narrow leaves. The fruit grows in small compact on a long red stem, is angular and tapering and several fruits are generally warped or pressed flat. The skin is thin, green when immature, yellow when ripe. The flesh is light pink and can be eaten fresh or cooked. The leaf is light green(young leaf reddish underneath), petiole light green. The trunk is light green with a yellowish tinge. This banana used to be planted by the altar(lele) in the temples. In 'feeding' ancestral spirits(aumakua) this banana served as an offering(mohai). In 'love magic' (hana aloha) one ate a lele banana to make love. In weaning two Lele bananas were laid in front of the child, if it ate one the desire for the breast 'flew away', if it did not take one weaning was prosponed. Juice extracted from the root of the sprout (pohuli) was given to children as medicine for trush(ea). This banana was used in feeding patron sharks at Kamilo beach, Kau.

  • Genetic Group - AAB



  • Date realized in trade -


Desert banana: Fruit mature quickly


  • Time To Bloom -
  • Time To Harvest -


  • Mature Height -

12-14 feet

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  • Fruiting Zone -
  • Cold Hardiness -
  • Wind -

Wind tolerant

  • Sun -

Full sun

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Known Afflictions

  • Pests -

Borers, grasshoppers and root nematodes

  • Susceptible Diseases -

Panama disease and black sigatoka

  • Resistant Diseases -

Research Notes

  • Links to useful discussion threads in the forum:
  • Typical Price Range -

Members Growing This Banana


  • Sources