East African highland bananas and enset belong to the genera Musa
and Ensete ( Ensete ventricosum
), respectively. The root, corm and shoot growth of field-established enset and East African highland banana cultivars was assessed. Banana and wild enset plants were assessed in Uganda, while domesticated enset plants were assessed in Ethiopia. Growth traits of the enset and banana mats in Uganda were recorded at flower emergence of the banana plant crop, while enset plants in Ethiopia were assessed at 4 and 5 years after planting. The results obtained in Uganda indicate that enset had a significantly (P<0.05) shorter and thicker pseudostem compared to banana. In addition, enset had a larger root system with thicker cord roots. Results further showed that young enset plants had a significantly lower shoot-root ratio compared to the bananas. The shoot-root ratio in enset is, however, clone dependent and increases with an increase in age. The results also showed that root density in enset sharply decreases with increasing soil depth.