Banana is the common name forherbaceous plants of the genus Musaand for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colorswhen ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.
Almost all modern edible parthenocarpicbananas come from the two wild speciesMusa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of bananas areMusa 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.
Banana is also used to describe Ensetand Fe’i bananas, neither of which belong to the Musa genus. Enset bananas belong to the genus Ensetewhile the taxonomy of Fe’i-type cultivarsis uncertain.
In popular culture and commerce, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet “dessert” bananas. By contrast, Musacultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains or “cooking bananas.” The distinction is purely arbitrary and the terms ‘plantain’ and ‘banana’ are sometimes interchangeable depending on their usage.
They 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 thetropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and as ornamental plants.