These outer leaf bases of Ensete ventricosum will lose their upper parts, the bases enduring as part of the compacted stem of the plant. New leaves grow from the centre. The thickset stem or really the pseudostem of E. ventricosum, taken as a tree on account of its height, is therefore not woody at all.
Reaching 12 m in height, the stem, hardly a trunk, is made up of tightly overlapping old leaf bases. For a tree maybe not the toughest material to keep the tall structure upright, but it is only to last for about eight years before its swan song arrives: a once-off flowering and the monocarpic (single fruiting) tree dies (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Wikipedia; Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997).