Banana and cross section.jpg
Peeled, whole, and cross section
Scientific classification
Fruits of four different banana cultivars

A banana is an edible fruit – botanically a berry[1][2] – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa.[3] In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called "plantains", distinguishing them from dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible seedless (parthenocarp) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name for this hybrid, Musa sapientum, is no longer used.

Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea.[4][5] They are grown in 135 countries,[6] primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine, and banana beer and as ornamental plants. The world's largest producers of bananas in 2017 were India and China, which together accounted for approximately 38% of total production.[7]

Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between "bananas" and "plantains". Especially in the Americas and Europe, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called "plantains". In other regions, such as Southeast Asia, many more kinds of banana are grown and eaten, so the binary distinction is not useful and is not made in local languages.

The term "banana" is also used as the common name for the plants that produce the fruit.[3] This can extend to other members of the genus Musa, such as the scarlet banana (Musa coccinea), the pink banana (Musa velutina), and the Fe'i bananas. It can also refer to members of the genus Ensete, such as the snow banana (Ensete glaucum) and the economically important false banana (Ensete ventricosum). Both genera are in the banana family, Musaceae.


Young banana plant

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant.[8] All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a "corm".[9] Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy, and are often mistaken for trees, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a "false stem" or pseudostem. Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, as long as the soil is at least 60 cm deep, has good drainage and is not compacted.[10] The leaves of banana plants are composed of a "stalk" (petiole) and a blade (lamina). The base of the petiole widens to form a sheath; the tightly packed sheaths make up the pseudostem, which is all that supports the plant. The edges of the sheath meet when it is first produced, making it tubular. As new growth occurs in the centre of the pseudostem the edges are forced apart.[11] Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around 5 m (16 ft) tall, with a range from 'Dwarf Cavendish' plants at around 3 m (10 ft) to 'Gros Michel' at 7 m (23 ft) or more.[12][13] Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) long and 60 cm (2.0 ft) wide.[1] They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.[14]

When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or inflorescence. A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top.[15] Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the "banana heart". (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.[16]) After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots will normally have developed from the base, so that the plant as a whole is perennial. In the plantation system of cultivation, only one of the offshoots will be allowed to develop in order to maintain spacing.[17] The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem (closer to the leaves) from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.[18]

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called "hands"), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh 30–50 kilograms (66–110 lb). Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or "finger") average 125 grams (0.276 lb), of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter (nutrient table, lower right).

The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry".[19] There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety can be split lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels by manually deforming the unopened fruit.[20] In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.[21]

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive,[22] more so than most other fruits, because of their potassium content and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium.[23] The banana equivalent dose of radiation is sometimes used in nuclear communication to compare radiation levels and exposures.[24]

Other Languages
Acèh: Pisang
Afrikaans: Piesang
Alemannisch: Banane
አማርኛ: ሙዝ
العربية: موز
aragonés: Banana
অসমীয়া: কল
asturianu: Plátanu
Atikamekw: Pananis
Aymar aru: Puquta
azərbaycanca: Banan
تۆرکجه: موز
বাংলা: কলা
Bahasa Banjar: Pisang
Bân-lâm-gú: Kin-chio
Basa Banyumasan: Gedhang
башҡортса: Банан
беларуская: Банан (плод)
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Банан (плод)
भोजपुरी: केला
Bikol Central: Batag
Bislama: Banana
български: Банан (плод)
བོད་ཡིག: ངང་ལག
bosanski: Banana
brezhoneg: Bananez
буряад: Гадил
català: Banana
čeština: Banán
chiTumbuka: Ntochi
corsu: Banana
Cymraeg: Banana
dansk: Banan
ދިވެހިބަސް: ދޮންކެޔޮ
eesti: Banaan
Ελληνικά: Μπανάνα
español: Banana
Esperanto: Banano
euskara: Banana
eʋegbe: Akɔɖu
فارسی: موز
Fiji Hindi: Jaina
français: Banane
Gaeilge: Banana
Gaelg: Bananey
Gàidhlig: Banana
galego: Banana
贛語: 香蕉
ગુજરાતી: કેળાં
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Khiûng-chiâu
한국어: 바나나
հայերեն: Բանան
हिन्दी: केला
hornjoserbsce: Banana
Ido: Banano
Ilokano: Saba
Bahasa Indonesia: Pisang
interlingua: Banana (fructo)
íslenska: Banani
italiano: Banana
עברית: בננה (פרי)
Basa Jawa: Gedhang
Kapampangan: Sagin
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: کیل
kaszëbsczi: Banan
қазақша: Банан
Kinyarwanda: Umuneke
Kiswahili: Ndizi
Kreyòl ayisyen: Bannann
kurdî: Mûz
Кыргызча: Банан
latviešu: Banāni
lingála: Etabé
la .lojban.: badna
lumbaart: Musa
magyar: Banán
македонски: Банана
Malagasy: Akondro
മലയാളം: വാഴ
मराठी: केळ
مصرى: موز
Bahasa Melayu: Pisang
Baso Minangkabau: Pisang
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Bă-ciĕu
монгол: Гадил
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ငှက်ပျော
Nederlands: Banaan (vrucht)
नेपाली: केरा
नेपाल भाषा: म्वाय्
日本語: バナナ
нохчийн: Банан
norsk: Bananer
norsk nynorsk: Banan
occitan: Banana
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: କଦଳୀ
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Banan
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੇਲਾ
پنجابی: کیلا
پښتو: كيله
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ចេក
Tok Pisin: Banana
polski: Banan (owoc)
português: Banana
reo tahiti: Meià
русиньскый: Банан
русский: Банан
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱠᱟᱭᱨᱟ
Gagana Samoa: Fa'i
संस्कृतम्: कदलीफलम्
sardu: Banana
Scots: Bananae
Sesotho sa Leboa: Panana
Setswana: Banana
shqip: Bananja
sicilianu: Banana
සිංහල: කෙසෙල්
Simple English: Banana
سنڌي: ڪيلو
slovenčina: Banán
slovenščina: Banana
Soomaaliga: Moos
کوردی: مۆز
српски / srpski: Банана
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Banana
Basa Sunda: Cau
suomi: Banaani
svenska: Banan
Tagalog: Saging
తెలుగు: అరటి
ไทย: กล้วย
тоҷикӣ: Банан (мева)
Tsetsêhestâhese: Vóhka'émene
Türkçe: Muz
українська: Банан (плід)
اردو: کیلا
Vahcuengh: Gyoijhom
Tiếng Việt: Chuối
Volapük: Benen
West-Vlams: Bananne
Winaray: Saging
吴语: 香蕉
ייִדיש: באנאן
粵語: 香蕉
中文: 香蕉