The Tamil name for Banana Tree is "Vaazhai Maram".
Banana tree is one tree which gives everything to us (Tamils and South Indians) in its entirety. We can eat the fruit, we can eat as vegetables: the trunk, the flower and the unripe banana. The leaves are used as a plate.
In Tami language, just "Vaazhai" alone will denote "Banana".
"Vaazhai" + combination of words will mean Banana Tree, Plantain, the trunk of Banana Tree, the flower of Banana Tree etc... All these are used by Tamils and South Indians.
"Vaazhai" + "Maram" = Vaazhaimaram meaning Banana Tree tree or Plantain tree. "Maram" means tree"
"Vaazhai" + "Kai" = Vaazhaikai meaning Plantain (used as vegetable) or some times called Green Banana Tree (unripe Banana Tree). "Kai" means "Vegetable"
"Vaazhai" + "Poo" = Vaazhaipoo meaning the flower of Banana Tree tree. "Poo" means "Flower"
"Thandu" = VaazhaiThandu meaning the trunk of Banana Tree tree
"Vaazhai" + "Pazham" = Vaazhaipazham meaning Banana Tree. "Pazham" means "Fruit"
"Vaazhai" + "Ilai" = Vaazhaiilai meaning Banana leaf. "Ilai" means "Leaf"
Almost every house in olden days will have one or more Banana tree.
Banana tree has closest ties with Tamil tradition and culture.
For auspicious days, festivals or occassions like marriage, house warming etc... you can find 2 or more Banana trees in the entrance of the house or the hall where the function is happening.
The meals served during this function will be on a Banana leaf and the dessert served in the meal will be Banana.
If during marriage or house warming, when you leave the place, you will be given 2 Banana and a Coconut as a return gift.
Spelling variations in Tamil name for Banana Tree:
Vaazhai maram, Vazhaimaram
Some people cannot pronounce the Tamil letter "Zha" and hence some people will pronounce Pazham as Palam.
So the variations of name will include Vaalai maram, valaimaram
There is no equivalent letter or way of pronouncing Tamil "Zha" in English language. The closest is "Zha" or simple "la".
It is said that, "Zha" is beauty of Tamil language. As you can note, the word "Tamil" in English ends with the letter "l" since there is no equivalent for Tamil letter "Zha with a dot".