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A banana is an elongated, edible – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large in the Musa. In some countries, are 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 covered with a peel, which may have a variety of colors when ripe. It grows upward in clusters near the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible seedless () cultivated bananas come from two wild species – and , or hybrids of them.

Musa species are native to tropical and Australia; they were probably domesticated in . They are grown in 135 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make and textiles, while some are grown as . The world's largest producers of bananas in 2022 were and , which together accounted for approximately 26% of total production. Bananas are eaten raw or cooked in recipes varying from curries to banana chips, fritters, fruit preserves, or simply baked or steamed.

Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between dessert "bananas" and cooking "plantains": this works well enough in the Americas and Europe, but it breaks down in where many more kinds of bananas are grown and eaten. The term "banana" is applied also to other members of the genus Musa, such as the ( Musa coccinea), the ( Musa velutina), and the Fe'i bananas. Members of the genus , such as the ( Ensete glaucum) and the economically important false banana ( Ensete ventricosum) of Africa are sometimes included. Both genera are in the banana family, .

Banana plantations are subject to damage by parasitic nematodes and insect pests, and to fungal and bacterial diseases, one of the most serious being Panama disease which is caused by a fungus. This and threaten the production of , the main kind eaten in the Western world, which is a Musa acuminata. Plant breeders are seeking new varieties, but these are difficult to breed given that commercial varieties are seedless. To enable future breeding, banana is conserved in multiple gene banks around the world.

The banana plant is the largest flowering plant.
(2024). 9782910810375, International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantains/International Plant Genetic Resources Institute. .
All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure called a . Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy with a appearance, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a composed of multiple leaf-stalks (petioles). Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, as long as it is at least deep, has good drainage and is not compacted. They are fast-growing plants, with a growth rate of up to per day.
(2024). 9783540301462, . .

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. Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around tall, with a range from 'Dwarf Cavendish' plants at around to 'Gros Michel' at or more. Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow long and wide. When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or . A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top. Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the "banana heart". After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots will normally have developed from the base, so that the plant as a whole is . The inflorescence contains many petal-like 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.

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster called a bunch, made up of around 9 tiers called hands, with up to 20 fruits to a hand. A bunch can weigh .

The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry".

(1977). 9780916422073, Mad River Press. .
There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (), 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 by manually deforming the unopened fruit. In cultivated varieties, fertile seeds are usually absent.

File:Banana corm.jpg|A corm, about across File:Young Banana Sapling - Kerala - IMG 3447.jpg|Young plant File:M. acuminata x balbisiana female flower detail.jpg|Female flowers have petals at the tip of the ovary File:2018 06 TropicalIslands IMG 2170.jpg|'Tree' showing fruit and File:Banana single rows.jpg|Single row planting File:M. acuminata x balbisiana.JPG|Inflorescence, partially opened


A 2011 phylogenomic analysis using nuclear genes indicates the of some representatives of the family. Major edible kinds of banana are shown in boldface.

Many cultivated bananas are hybrids of M. acuminata x M. balbisiana (not shown in tree).

Work by Li and colleagues in 2024 identifies three subspecies of M. acuminata, namely sspp. banksii, malaccensis, and zebrina, as contributing substantially to the Ban, Dh, and Ze subgenomes of cultivated bananas respectively.

The genus Musa was created by in 1753. The name may be derived from , physician to the Emperor , or Linnaeus may have adapted the Arabic word for banana, .
(1995). 9780198661894, Oxford University Press.
The ultimate origin of musa may be in the Trans–New Guinea languages, which have words similar to "#muku"; from there the name was borrowed into the Austronesian languages and across Asia, accompanying the cultivation of the banana as it was brought to new areas, via the Dravidian languages of India, into Arabic as a .
(2024). 9789027212559, John Benjamins Publishing Company. .
which (p. 169) cites
The word "banana" is thought to be of West African origin, possibly from the word banaana]], and passed into via or Portuguese.

Musa is the type genus in the family . The APG III system assigns Musaceae to the order , part of the clade of the flowering plants. Some 70 species of Musa were recognized by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families ; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.

The classification of cultivated bananas has long been a problematic issue for taxonomists. Linnaeus originally placed bananas into two species based only on their uses as food: Musa sapientum for dessert bananas and Musa paradisiaca for plantains. More species names were added, but this approach proved to be inadequate for the number of in the primary center of diversity of the genus, Southeast Asia. Many of these cultivars were given names that were later discovered to be synonyms.

In a series of papers published from 1947 onward, Ernest Cheesman showed that Linnaeus's Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca were cultivars and descendants of two wild seed-producing species, and , both first described by Luigi Aloysius Colla. Cheesman recommended the abolition of Linnaeus's species in favor of reclassifying bananas according to three morphologically distinct groups of cultivars – those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa balbisiana, those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa acuminata, and those with characteristics of both. Researchers Norman Simmonds and Ken Shepherd proposed a genome-based nomenclature system in 1955. This system eliminated almost all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the earlier classification of bananas based on assigning scientific names to cultivated varieties. Despite this, the original names are still recognized by some authorities, leading to confusion.

The accepted for most groups of cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla for the ancestral species, and Musa × paradisiaca L. for the hybrid of the two.

An unusual feature of the genetics of the banana is that is inherited maternally, while mitochondrial DNA is inherited paternally. This facilitates taxonomic study of species and subspecies relationships.

Informal classification
In regions such as North America and Europe, Musa fruits offered for sale can be divided into small sweet "bananas" eaten raw when ripe as a dessert, and large starchy "plantains" or , which do not have to be ripe. Linnaeus made this distinction when naming two "species" of Musa. Members of the "plantain subgroup" of banana cultivars, most important as food in West Africa and Latin America, correspond to this description, having long pointed fruit. They are described by Ploetz et al. as "true" plantains, distinct from other cooking bananas.

The cooking bananas of East Africa belong to a different group, the East African Highland bananas. Further, small farmers in Colombia grow a much wider range of cultivars than large commercial plantations do, and in Southeast Asia—the center of diversity for bananas, both wild and cultivated—the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" does not work. Many bananas are used both raw and cooked. There are starchy cooking bananas which are smaller than those eaten raw. The range of colors, sizes and shapes is far wider than in those grown or sold in Africa, Europe or the Americas. Southeast Asian languages do not make the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" that is made in English. Thus both Cavendish dessert bananas and are called pisang in Malaysia and Indonesia, kluai in Thailand and chuối in Vietnam. Fe'i bananas, grown and eaten in the islands of the Pacific, are derived from a different wild species. Most Fe'i bananas are cooked, but , which are short and squat with bright red skins, are eaten raw.


The earliest domestication of bananas ( Musa spp.) was from naturally occurring (seedless) individuals of in . These were cultivated by before the arrival of Austronesian-speakers. Numerous of bananas have been recovered from the archaeological site and dated to around 10,000 to 6,500 . humans in this area began domestication in the late using and early methods. By the early to middle of the the process was complete. From New Guinea, cultivated bananas spread westward into Island Southeast Asia. They hybridized with other (possibly independently domesticated) of Musa acuminata as well as M. balbisiana in the Philippines, northern New Guinea, and possibly . These hybridization events produced the triploid cultivars of bananas commonly grown today. The banana was one of the key crops that in Papua New Guinea.

From Island Southeast Asia, bananas became part of the staple domesticated crops of Austronesian peoples.

These ancient introductions resulted in the banana subgroup now known as the , which include the East African Highland bananas and the Pacific plantains (the and Maoli-Popo'ulu subgroups). East African Highland bananas originated from banana populations introduced to Madagascar probably from the region between , , and ; while Pacific plantains were introduced to the Pacific Islands from either eastern New Guinea or the Bismarck Archipelago.

21st century discoveries of in Cameroon dating to the first millennium BCE triggered a debate about the date of first cultivation in Africa. There is linguistic evidence that bananas were known in East Africa or Madagascar around that time. The earliest prior evidence indicates that cultivation dates to no earlier than the late 6th century AD. colonized Madagascar from South East Asia around 600 AD onwards.

(2024). 9783319338217, Palgrave Macmillan. .
and two other proteins specific to bananas were found in from the early (12th century BCE) in in the southern .

Another wave of introductions later spread bananas to other parts of tropical Asia, particularly Indochina and the Indian subcontinent. Some evidence suggests bananas were known to the Indus Valley civilisation from phytoliths recovered from the archaeological site in Pakistan. Southeast Asia remains the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation there.

Arab Agricultural Revolution
The banana may have been present in isolated locations elsewhere in the Middle East on the eve of . The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and ) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century, the banana appeared in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into North Africa and during the Arab Agricultural Revolution. An article on banana tree cultivation is included in Ibn al-'Awwam's 12th-century agricultural work, Kitāb al-Filāḥa ( Book on Agriculture). (pp. 368-370 (Article XLVIII) During the Middle Ages, bananas from were considered among the best in the Arab world.
(1983). 9780521247115, Cambridge University Press.
Bananas were certainly grown in the Christian Kingdom of Cyprus by the late medieval period. Writing in 1458, the Italian traveller and writer Gabriele Capodilista wrote favourably of the extensive farm produce of the estates at Episkopi, near modern-day , including the region's banana plantations.
(1992). 9780814741818, NYU Press.

Early modern spread
In the early modern period, bananas were encountered by European explorers during the Magellan expedition in 1521, in both and the . Lacking a name for the fruit, the ship's historian Antonio Pigafetta described them as "figs more than one palm long." Bananas were introduced to by Portuguese sailors who brought them from West Africa in the 16th century. Southeast Asian banana cultivars, as well as grown for fibers, were introduced to North and Central America by the Spanish from the Philippines, via the .

File:Banana ancestors (Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana) original range.png|Original native ranges of the ancestors of modern edible bananas. (green), (orange)

(2024). 9780203203385, .
File:Inside a wild-type banana.jpg|Fruits of bananas have numerous large, hard seeds.|alt=Photo of two cross-sectional halves of seed-filled fruit. File:Chronological dispersal of Austronesian people across the Pacific (per Benton et al, 2012, adapted from Bellwood, 2011).png|Chronological dispersal of Austronesian peoples across the
(2024). 9780470016176, John Wiley & Sons.
File:Bananas Muslim world.JPG|Actual and probable diffusion of bananas during the Arab Agricultural Revolution (700–1500 CE)|alt=Map stating that banana cultivation occurred in pre-Islamic times in India and Southeast Asia, during the 700–1500 CE "Islamic period" along the and in and Palestine, and less-certainly in sub-Saharan Africa during that same period File:Acta Eruditorum - III musa arabum pala plinii, 1734 – BEIC 13446956.jpg|Illustration of fruit and plant from , 1734

Plantation cultivation
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, and western Africa. North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale at very high prices shortly after the Civil War, though it was only in the 1880s that the food became more widespread.
(2024). 9780452290082, Hudson Street Press. .
As late as the , bananas were not widely known in Europe, although they were available.

The earliest modern plantations originated in Jamaica and the related Western Caribbean Zone, including most of . Plantation cultivation involved the combination of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads with the development of refrigeration that allowed more time between harvesting and ripening. North American shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker and Andrew Preston, the founders of the Boston Fruit Company started this process in the 1870s, with the participation of railroad builders like Minor C. Keith. Development led to the multi-national giant corporations like Chiquita and Dole. These companies were , vertically integrated (controlling growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build (internally self-sufficient, virtually tax exempt, and export-oriented, contributing little to the host economy). Their political maneuvers, which gave rise to the term for states such as Honduras and Guatemala, included working with local elites and their rivalries to influence politics or playing the international interests of the United States, especially during the , to keep the political climate favorable to their interests.

Small-scale cultivation
The vast majority of the world's bananas are cultivated for family consumption or for sale on local markets. They are grown in large quantities in India, while many other Asian and African countries host numerous small-scale banana growers who sell at least some of their crop. Peasants with smallholdings of 1 to 2 acres in the Caribbean produce bananas for the world market, often alongside other crops.Clegg, Peter " The Development of the Windward Islands Banana Export Trade: Commercial Opportunity and Colonial Necessity ," Society for Caribbean Studies Annual Conference Papers 1 (2000) In many tropical countries, the main cultivars produce green (unripe) bananas used for . Because bananas and plantains produce fruit year-round, they provide a valuable food source during the hunger season between harvests of other crops, and are thus important for global .

Modern cultivation
Bananas are propagated asexually from offshoots. The plant is allowed to produce two shoots at a time; a larger one for immediate fruiting and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" to produce fruit in 6–8 months. As a non-seasonal crop, bananas are available fresh year-round. They are grown in some 135 countries.

In global commerce in 2009, by far the most important cultivars belonged to the triploid Musa acuminata AAA group of Cavendish group bananas. Disease is threatening the production of the Cavendish banana worldwide. It is unclear if any existing cultivar can replace Cavendish bananas, so various hybridisation and genetic engineering programs are attempting to create a disease-resistant, mass-market banana. One such strain that has emerged is the Taiwanese Cavendish or Formosana.

Export bananas are picked green, and ripened in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. This mimics the normal production of this gas as a ripening hormone. Ethylene stimulates the formation of , an that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste. Ethylene signals the production of , a different enzyme which breaks down the between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens. The vivid yellow color many consumers in temperate climates associate with bananas is caused by ripening around , and does not occur in Cavendish bananas ripened in tropical temperatures (over ), which leaves them green.

Storage and transport
Bananas are transported over long distances from the tropics to world markets.
(2024). 9789251050576, Food and Agriculture Organization.
To obtain maximum shelf life, harvest comes before the fruit is mature. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping. The goal is to prevent the bananas from producing their natural ripening agent, ethylene. This technology allows storage and transport for 3–4 weeks at . On arrival, bananas are held at about and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If bananas are too green, they can be put in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process.

The excessive use of fertilizers contributes greatly to in streams and lakes, harming aquatic life, while expanding banana production has led to deforestation. As soil nutrients are depleted, more forest is cleared for plantations. This causes soil erosion and increases the frequency of flooding.

Voluntary sustainability standards such as Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade are being used to address some of these issues. Banana production certified in this way grew rapidly at the start of the 21st century to represent 36% of banana exports by 2016. However, such standards are applied mainly in countries which focus on the export market, such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Guatemala; worldwide they cover only 8–10% of production.

Mutation breeding can be used in this crop. is a source of significant variation in varieties. For one example, it can be a source of TR4 resistance. have been devised to screen for such aberrations and for possible resulting disease resistances. Wild Musa spp. provide useful resistance genetics, and are vital to breeding for TR4 resistance, as shown in resistance from wild relatives.

The Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research has bred a seedless banana that is resistant to both Panama disease and black Sigatoka disease. The team made use of the fact that "seedless" varieties do rarely produce seeds; they obtained around fifteen seeds from some 30,000 cultivated plants, pollinated by hand with pollen from wild Asian bananas.

Production and export
+ 2022 production (in millions of tonnes)
Source: of the Note: Some countries distinguish between bananas and plantains, but four of the top six producers do not, thus necessitating comparisons using the total for bananas and plantains combined.

, bananas are exported in larger volume and to a larger value than any other fruit. In 2022, world production of bananas and plantains combined was 179 million tonnes, led by India and China with a combined total of 26% of global production. Other major producers were Uganda, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Ecuador. As reported for 2013, total world exports were 20 million tonnes of bananas and 859,000 tonnes of plantains. Ecuador and the Philippines were the leading exporters with 5.4 and 3.3 million tonnes, respectively, and the Dominican Republic was the leading exporter of plantains with 210,350 tonnes.

Bananas are damaged by a variety of pests, especially nematodes and insects.

Banana roots are subject to damage from multiple species of parasitic . Radopholus similis causes nematode root rot, the most serious nematode disease of bananas in economic terms.Sekora, N. S. and W. T. Crow. Burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis. EENY-542. University of Florida IFAS. 2012. Root-knot is the result of infection by species of , while root-lesion is caused by species of , and spiral nematode root damage is the result of infection by species.

Among the main insect pests of banana cultivation are two beetles that cause substantial economic losses, the banana borer Cosmopolites sordidus and the banana stem weevil Odoiporus longicollis. Other significant pests include and scarring beetles.
(2024). 9789811086861, Springer Singapore.

Although in no danger of outright extinction, bananas of the Cavendish group, which dominate the global market, are under threat. There is a need to enrich banana by producing diverse new banana varieties, not just focusing on the Cavendish. Its predecessor '', discovered in the 1820s, was similarly dominant but had to be replaced after widespread infections of Panama disease. of Cavendish similarly leaves it susceptible to disease and so threatens both commercial cultivation and small-scale subsistence farming. Within the data gathered from the genes of hundreds of bananas, the botanist Julie Sardos has found several wild banana ancestors currently unknown to scientists, whose genes could provide a means of defense against banana crop diseases.

Some commentators have remarked that those variants which could replace what much of the world considers a "typical banana" are so different that most people would not consider them the same fruit, and blame the decline of the banana on monogenetic cultivation driven by short-term commercial motives. Overall, fungal diseases are disproportionately important to small island developing states.

Panama disease
is caused by a soil , which enters the plants through the roots and travels with water into the trunk and leaves, producing and gums that cut off the flow of water and nutrients, causing the plant to , and exposing the rest of the plant to lethal amounts of sunlight. Prior to 1960, almost all commercial banana production centered on the Gros Michel cultivar, which was highly susceptible. Cavendish was chosen as the replacement for Gros Michel because, among resistant cultivars, it produces the highest quality . It requires more care during shipping, and its quality compared to Gros Michel is debated.
(1992). 9780963316103, W.O. Lessard.

Fusarium wilt TR4
Fusarium wilt TR4, a reinvigorated strain of Panama disease, was discovered in 1993. This virulent form of Fusarium wilt has destroyed Cavendish plantations in several southeast Asian countries and spread to Australia and India. As the soil-based fungi can easily be carried on boots, clothing, or tools, the wilt spread to the Americas despite years of preventive efforts. Without genetic diversity, Cavendish is highly susceptible to TR4, and the disease endangers its commercial production worldwide. The only known defense to TR4 is genetic resistance. This is conferred either by RGA2, a gene isolated from a TR4-resistant banana, or by the -derived Ced9. This may be achieved by genetic modification.

Black sigatoka
is a fungal leaf spot disease first observed in Fiji in 1963 or 1964. It is caused by the Mycosphaerella fijiensis. The disease, also called black leaf streak, has spread to banana plantations throughout the tropics from infected banana leaves used as packing material. It affects all main cultivars of bananas and plantains (including the Cavendish cultivars (Also at )), impeding by blackening parts of the leaves, eventually killing the entire leaf. Starved for energy, fruit production falls by 50% or more, and the bananas that do grow prematurely, making them unsuitable for export. The fungus has shown ever-increasing resistance to treatment; spraying with fungicides may be required as often as 50 times a year. Better strategies, with integrated pest management, are needed.

Banana bunchy top virus
Banana bunchy top virus is a plant virus of the genus Babuvirus, family Nanonviridae affecting Musa spp. (including banana, abaca, plantain and ornamental bananas) and Ensete spp. in the family Musaceae.National Biological Information Infrastructure & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. Banana Bunchy Top Virus . Global Invasive Species Database. N.p., July 6, 2005. Banana bunchy top disease symptoms include dark green streaks of variable length in leaf veins, midribs and petioles. Leaves become short and stunted as the disease progresses, becoming 'bunched' at the apex of the plant. Infected plants may produce no fruit or the fruit bunch may not emerge from the pseudostem.Thomas, J.E. (ed). 2015. MusaNet Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Musa Germplasm . 3rd edition. MusaLit, Bioversity International, Rome The virus is transmitted by the banana aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa and is widespread in Southeast Asia, Asia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Oceania and parts of Africa. There is no cure, but it can be effectively controlled by the eradication of diseased plants and the use of virus-free planting material. No resistant cultivars have been found, but varietal differences in susceptibility have been reported. The commercially important Cavendish subgroup is severely affected.

Banana bacterial wilt
Banana bacterial wilt is a bacterial disease caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum. First identified on a close relative of bananas, Ensete ventricosum, in Ethiopia in the 1960s, The disease was first seen in Uganda in 2001 affecting all banana cultivars. Since then it has been diagnosed in Central and East Africa, including the banana growing regions of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and Uganda.

Conservation of genetic diversity
Given the narrow range of genetic diversity present in bananas and the many threats via (pests and diseases) and abiotic threats (such as ) stress, conservation of the full spectrum of banana genetic resources is ongoing. In 2024, the economist Pascal Liu of the FAO described the impact of as an "enormous threat" to the world supply of bananas.

Banana is conserved in many national and regional , and at the world's largest banana collection, the International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre, managed by Bioversity International and hosted at in Belgium. Since Musa cultivars are mostly seedless, they are conserved by three main methods: (planted in field collections), (as plantlets in test tubes within a controlled environment), and by ( conserved in at −196 °C).

Genes from wild banana species are conserved as and as cryopreserved . Seeds from wild species are sometimes conserved, although less commonly, as they are difficult to regenerate. In addition, bananas and their crop wild relatives are conserved , in the wild natural habitats where they evolved and continue to do so. Diversity is also conserved in farmers' fields where continuous cultivation, adaptation and improvement of cultivars is often carried out by small-scale farmers growing traditional local cultivars.

A raw banana (not including the peel) is 75% water, 23% , 1% protein, and contains negligible . A reference amount of supplies 89 , 31% of the of vitamin B6, and moderate amounts of , manganese, potassium, and , with no other in significant content (table).

Although bananas are commonly thought to contain exceptional potassium content, their actual potassium content is not high per typical food serving, having only 12% of the Daily Value for potassium (table). The potassium-content ranking for bananas among fruits, vegetables, legumes, and many other foods is medium.

Individuals with a may experience a reaction to bananas.



Bananas are a staple for many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both the skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. The primary component of the aroma of fresh bananas is (also known as banana oil), which, along with several other compounds such as and , is a significant contributor to banana flavor. "Isoamyl acetate (9.6%) imparts the characteristic aroma typical of fresh bananas (13, 17−20), while butyl acetate (8.1%) and isobutyl acetate (1.4%) are considered to be character impact compounds of banana flavor."

Plantains are eaten cooked, such as made into fritters. , bananas fried with batter is a popular street food in Southeast Asia.

(2024). 9781598849554, . .
Bananas feature in Philippine cuisine, with desserts like maruya banana fritters. Bananas can be made into fruit preserves. are a snack produced from sliced and fried bananas, such as in . Dried bananas are ground to make . In Africa, bananas are cooked in a sauce with meat and vegetables such as peanuts or beans to make the breakfast dish . In Western countries, bananas are used to make desserts such as banana bread.

File:అరటికాయ మరియు నిమ్మకాయ పులుసు కూర.jpg|Banana curry with lemon, , India File:Pisang goreng in a basket.jpg| fried banana in batter, a popular snack in Indonesia File:YosriPengatPisang.jpg|Banana in sweet gravy, known as pengat pisang in Malaysia

Banana flowers (also called "banana hearts" or "banana blossoms") are used as a
(1998). 9780855616885, New Holland Publishers. .
in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. The flavor resembles that of . As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible. See also the link on that page for Banana Flower Salad.

File:Thanin market banana flowers and leaves.jpg|Banana flowers and leaves on sale in Thailand File:Bananajf.jpg| Kilawin na pusô ng saging, a Filipino dish of banana flowers

Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. While generally too tough to actually be eaten, they are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as "plates" in and several countries. In Indonesian cuisine, banana leaf is employed in cooking methods like and ; banana leaf packages containing food ingredients and spices are cooked in steam or in boiled water, or are grilled on charcoal. Certain types of tamales are wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks.

When used so for steaming or grilling, the banana leaves protect the food ingredients from burning and add a subtle sweet flavor. In , it is customary to serve traditional food on a banana leaf. In (India), dried banana leaves are used as to pack food and to make cups to hold liquid food items.

File:Chicken satay on banana leaf in Java.jpg|Banana leaf as disposable plate for in File:Nacatamales in steamer.jpg|Nicaraguan , in banana leaves, ready to be steamed

The tender core of the banana plant's trunk is also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine.
(2014). 9781462913688, Tuttle Publishing. .
Examples include the Burmese dish , and the dishes and kadyos, manok, kag ubad.

Kaeng yuak.JPG| Kaeng yuak, a northern of the core of the banana plant

Paper and textiles
Banana fiber harvested from the pseudostems and leaves has been used for in Asia since at least the 13th century. Both fruit-bearing and fibrous banana species have been used.
(2024). 9789058676146, Leuven University Press.
In the Japanese system Kijōka-bashōfu, leaves and shoots are cut from the plant periodically to ensure softness. Harvested shoots are first boiled in to prepare fibers for -making. These banana shoots produce fibers of varying degrees of softness, yielding yarns and textiles with differing qualities for specific uses. For example, the outermost fibers of the shoots are the coarsest, and are suitable for , while the softest innermost fibers are desirable for and . This traditional Japanese cloth-making process requires many steps, all performed by hand. can be made either from the bark of the banana plant, mainly for artistic purposes, or from the fibers of the stem and non-usable fruits. The paper may be hand-made or industrially processed.
(2014). 9781482257984, . .

File:COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Het verpakken van manilla-hennep (musa textilis) in balen op onderneming Kali Telepak Besoeki Oost-Java TMnr 10011535.jpg|Packing Manila hemp ( ) into bales, Java File:48-QWSTION-BANANATEX-LOOM-LAUSCHSICHT.jpg|Weaving looms processing Manila hemp fabric File:QWSTION Flap tote small.jpg|A modern bag by the fashion company QWSTION

Other uses
The large leaves of bananas are locally used as .
(2024). 9781626549760, Echo Point Books & Media. .

may have capability to extract heavy metal from river water, similar to other purification materials. Waste bananas can be used to feed . Last updated on March 25, 2016, 10:36

As with all living things, potassium-containing bananas emit at low levels occurring naturally from the potassium-40 (K-40) isotope. The banana equivalent dose of radiation was developed in 1995 as a simple teaching-tool to educate the public about the natural, small amount of K-40 radiation occurring in everyone and in common foods.

Cultural roles

The poet Matsuo Bashō is named after the Japanese word 芭蕉 (Bashō) for the . The Bashō planted in his garden by a grateful student became a source of inspiration to his poetry, as well as a symbol of his life and home.
(1998). 9780804730990, Stanford University Press.

The song "Yes! We Have No Bananas" was written by and and originally released in 1923; for many decades, it was the best-selling in history. Since then the song has been rerecorded several times and has been particularly popular during banana shortages.

(1987). 9780195060829, Oxford University Press.

A person slipping on a has been a staple of for generations. An American comedy recording from 1910 features a popular character of the time, "Uncle Josh", claiming to describe his own such incident.

The banana's suggestively phallic shape has been exploited in artworks from Giorgio de Chirico's 1913 painting The Uncertainty of the Poet onwards. In 2019, an exhibition of Natalia LL's video and set of photographs showing a woman "sucking on a banana" at the Warsaw National Museum was taken down and the museum's director reprimanded. The cover artwork for the 1967 debut album of The Velvet Underground features a banana made by . On the original vinyl LP version, the design allowed the listener to "peel" this banana to find a pink, peeled banana on the inside. In 1989, the feminist made a screenprint with two bananas, intentionally reminiscent of Warhol's, arranged to form a "0" to answer the question in the artwork, "How many works by women artists were in the Andy Warhol and Tremaine auctions at Sotheby's?".

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan created a concept art piece titled Comedian involving taping a banana to a wall using silver duct tape. The piece was exhibited briefly at the Art Basel in Miami before being removed from the exhibition and eaten without permission in another artistic stunt titled Hungry Artist by New York artist .

Religion and folklore
In India, bananas serve a prominent part in many festivals and occasions of . In South Indian weddings, particularly , banana trees are tied in pairs to form an as a blessing to the couple for a long-lasting, useful life.

In Thailand, it is believed that of banana plant may be inhabited by a spirit, , a type of ghost related to trees and similar plants that manifests itself as a young woman. People often tie a length of colored satin cloth around the pseudostem of the banana plants.

In , the ghost known as Pontianak is associated with banana plants ( pokok pisang), and its spirit is said to reside in them during the day.

Racial signifier
In European, British, and Australian sport, throwing a banana at a member of an opposing team has long been used as a form of . The act, which was commonplace in England in the 1980s, is meant to taunt players of ancestry by equating them to apes or monkeys.

See also
  • Corporación Bananera Nacional
  • Domesticated plants and animals of Austronesia
  • Orange, another fruit exported and consumed in large quantities
  • United Brands Company v Commission of the European Communities


External links

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