Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colours when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific names Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca are no longer used.
Bananas are native to tropical South and Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fibre, banana wine and as ornamental plants. Our climate in Melbourne is sufficiently mild in winter to allow banana "trees" to survive and in summer it is not unusual to see many banana plants in gardens bearing fruit. This specimen photographed here thrives in our next door neighbours' garden and much more than the fruit, it is the flowers that fascinate me!
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