Musa L.


From the Arab name mauz – banana, or possibly from Musa, physician to Octavius Augustus, first Roman emperor.

Tree-like plants suckering to form clumps. False stem cylindrical with leaf sheaths all around the stem. Leaves large, spirally arranged, paddle-like and often with reddish blade margins. Flowers 1- many per bract, the upper lip with small lobes, the free segment unlobed and with a single point; bracts colourful, soon shed. Fruit a fleshy, many-seeded berry, the seeds absent or 2-5 mm wide.

Grown ornamentally for the bold foliage and commercially for the dessert fruits.

Wild plants by seed, commercial plants by suckers with a piece of rhizome.

Source of the commercial edible banana. M. textilis has strong leaf fibres used to manufacture rope and textiles in the Philippines. In China and Japan fibre is used to make cloth. The cooked male buds are edible and throughout the tropics the leaves are used to wrap food.

Suckering plants; leaves large, paddle-shaped, often split, the stalk visible between the blade and sheath.

About 40 species from Himalaya to SE Asia, Philippines and northern Australia. Plants east of this distribution range are probably introduced.

Moore (1957), Simmonds & Shepherd (1955), Simmonds (1962), Argent (1976), Stover & Simmonds (1991), Lessard (1992).

Source: Spencer, R. (2005). Musaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Zingiberales
family       Musaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Musa acuminata Colla