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Musa acuminata

(Blood Banana)


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A common host to Caligo eurilochus and Caligo memnon.

Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Chinese:

Gao Jiao Xiang Jiao, Gao Jiao Ya Jiao, Xiang Jiao, Xiao Guo Ye Jiao, Zhong Guo Ai Jiao, 小果野蕉, 尖蕉

Common Names in Danish:

Raad I Bananspidsen, Sygdom I Bananspidsen

Common Names in Dutch:

Babybanaan, Chinese Banaan

Common Names in English:

Blood Banana, "seedless Banana" (Misapplied), Banana, Banana Flower (Ingredient), Banana Inflorescence (Ingredient), Cavendish Banana, Chinese Banana, Diploid Wild Banana, Dwarf Banana, Edible Banana, Musa, Plantain, Super Dwarf Cavendish Banana, Sweet´s Banana, Variegated Banana, Wild Banana, Wild Banana Type A

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

Banane De Chine, Banane Sauvage, Bananier, Bananier De Chine, Bananier Nain

Common Names in German:

Banane, Chinabanane, Zwergbanane

Common Names in Italian:

Banana Di Cina

Common Names in Portuguese:

Banana Da China, Banana maçã

Common Names in Russian:

Банан заострённый

Common Names in Spanish:

Plátano, Platano De China

Common Names in Swedish:


Common Names in Thai:


Common Names in Ukrainian:

Загострений банан

Common Names in Vietnamese:

Chuối rừng


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Family Musaceae

Herbs perennial or monocarpic , growing from sympodial rhizomes or a massive, sympodial corm. Pseudostems composed of closely packed leaf sheaths . Leaves spirally arranged , petiolate ; leaf blade entire, pinnately veined. Inflorescence terminal or rarely axillary , cymose . Bracts spirally arranged, often brilliantly colored , spathelike, large. Flowers bisexual or unisexual by abortion , zygomorphic. Perianth in 2 whorls; 3 outer tepals and 2 inner ones united into a compound tepal; third inner tepal free. Stamens 5, free ; anthers 2-loculed. Pistil 1; ovary inferior, 3-loculed; ovules numerous per locule, anatropous ; placentation axile . Style simple or capitate. Fruit a berry, fleshy or leathery and dry, indehiscent. Seeds hard, not arillate ; embryo straight, surrounded by a well-developed endosperm and a mealy perisperm .

Three genera and ca. 40 species: tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia; three genera (one endemic) and 14 species (four endemic, three introduced ) in China.[1]

Genus Musa

Underground stems (corms) rhizomatous , short, pseudostems clustered, [0.5--]3--10 m. Leaf blades unlobed (older leaves often split to midrib ), oblong or oblong-elliptic, [0.6--]2--3 ´ 0.3--0.6 m. Inflorescences pendent [erect ]; pistillate flowers crowded, numerous ; bracts of staminate flowers imbricate, forming budlike mass at apex of inflorescence. Berries cylindric , usually ± curved , weakly angled in cross section , [10--]20--35 cm, soft, fleshy . x = 10, 11.

Species ca. 30 (1 species and 1 stable h: introduced ; Asia (India to Japan and Indonesia), Australia (Queensland), Pacific Islands (and Oceania) ; often persisting around gardens and plantations in North America, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Africa, Oceania Pacific Islands (Oceania).

Species of Musa are very important economically throughout the wet tropics. The fruits of several species are edible; they may be sweet (bananas) or starchy (plantains), and may be eaten raw or cooked. Some species are important fiber sources, especially M. textilis Née (abacá or Manila-hemp), and others are grown as ornamentals in subtropical and tropical regions . In addition, the plants have many minor uses in the tropics: banana leaves are used for wrapping and various other purposes, and the corms, the interior of the pseudostems, and the buds of staminate flowers are eaten as vegetables. Bananas used in North America are almost always sweet-fruited cultivars, imported from Central America to be eaten raw or used in cooking.

Prior to 1948, the taxonomy of cultivated bananas was not understood. Since then, it has become clear that most of the cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic diploids, triploids, and tetraploids (2n = 22, 33, 44) derived either from Musa acuminata Colla, M. balbisiana Colla, or hybrids between them (M. ´ paradisiaca Linnaeus). The most common crop bananas in North and Central America are triploid races of M. acuminata (genotype AAA) and triploid M. paradisiaca with two sets of chromosomes from M. acuminata and one from M. balbisiana (genotype AAB). Those two types are very similar morphologically; distinguishing them reliably requires numerical scoring of a large number of characters from the pseudostem, petiole , peduncle, bracts of staminate flowers, and staminate and pistillate flowers (N. W. Simmonds and K . Shepherd 1955), many of which are very difficult to score on herbarium material . The ranges given below, based on herbarium specimens, are tentative, and need to be checked in the field .[2]

Physical Description

Species Musa acuminata

Pseudostems heavily blotched with brown or black. Petioles : margins of adaxial groove erect , winged proximally. Inflorescences: pedicels short; bracts of staminate flowers lanceolate or narrowly ovate , apex acute, abaxial surface yellow, red, or dull purple, adaxial surface yellow proximally, often yellow or dull purple distally. Staminate flowers white or cream. Pistillate flowers: stigmas deep yellow or orange; each locule with 2 regular rows of ovules. [source]

Habit: Tree , Subshrub , Shrub

Flowers: Bloom Period: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. • Flower Color: blue-violet, inconspicuous, magenta, none, pale pink


Size: 36-48" tall.


Abandoned gardens and disturbed sites; 0--10 m [3].

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 3,108 meters (0 to 10,197 feet).[4]

Ecology: Often host for Caligo eurilochus sulanus and Caligo memnon.


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Duration: Perennial


Culture: Space 4-6' apart.

Soil: Minimum pH: 6.1 • Maximum pH: 7.5

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11. (map)


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Musa cavendishii Lamb. Ex Paxton • Musa chinensis Lamb. Ex Paxton • Musa zebrina Van Houtte Ex Planch.


Publishing author : Colla Publication : Mem. Gen. Musa 66.

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Musa

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 71 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

M. acuminata (Blood Banana) · M. acuminata microcarpa (Small-Fruited Wild Banana) · M. acuminata siamea (Thai Wild Banana) · M. acuminata 'Zebrina' (Zebrina Blood Banana) · M. acuminata 'Dwarf Cavendish' (Dwarf Cavendish Dwarf Banana) · M. acuminata 'Dwarf Namwah' (Dwarf Banana) · M. acuminata 'Dwarf Namwah Pearl' (Variegated Dwarf Banana) · M. acuminata 'Enano Gigante' (Dwarf Giant Banana) · M. acuminata 'High Color Mini' (Dwarf Banana) · M. acuminata 'Ice Cream' (Ice Cream Banana) · M. acuminata 'Java Blue' (Dwarf Banana) · M. acuminata 'Lacatan' (Lacatan Banana) · M. acuminata 'Lady Finger' (Banana) · M. acuminata 'Novak' (Banana) · M. acuminata 'Rajapuri' (Banana) · M. acuminata 'Super Dwarf' (Banana) · M. acuminata 'Williams' (Dwarf Banana) · M. balbisiana (Banana) · M. basjoo (Hardy Fiber Banana) · M. bihai (Bastard Plantain) · M. coccinea (Banana) · M. fehi (Hawaiian Ornamental Banana) · M. fitzalanii (Daintree´s River Banana (Australia)) · M. glauca (Seeded Sweet Banana) · M. halabanensis (West Sumatra Wild Banana) · M. itinerans (Yunnan Banana) · M. jackeyi (Johnstone River Banana (Australia)) · M. nana (Dwarf Banana) · M. nepalensis (Nepal Banana) · M. ornata (Banana) · M. ornata 'Milky Way' (Milky Way Flowering Banana) · M. paradisiaca (French Plantain) · M. paradisiaca normalis (French Plantain) · M. paradisiaca var. paradisiaca (Banana) · M. paradisiaca var. sapientum (French Plantain) · M. salaccensis (Javanese Wild Banana) · M. sikkimensis (Darjeeling Banana) · M. sumatrana 'Rojo' (Red Banana Tree) · M. textilis (Abaca) · M. troglodytarum (Fe'i Banana) · M. troglodytarum var. rubrifolia (Fe´i Banana) · M. uranoscopos (Banana) · M. velutina (Hairy Banana) · M. ventricosa (Abyssinian Banana) · M. × paradisiaca (French Plantain) · M. x paradisiaca 'Mysore' (Ae-Ae) · M. x paradisiaca 'Saba' (Papaya Banana) · M. yunnanensis (Yunnan Banana) · M. zebrina 'Rojo' (Blood Banana) · M. 'African Rhino Horn' (Banana) · M. 'Bordelon' (Banana) · M. 'Cardaba' (Banana) · M. 'Double Mahoi' (Banana) · M. 'Dwarf Orinoco' (Dwarf Orinoco Banana) · M.'Dwarf Puerto Rican' (Dwarf Puerto Rican Banana) · M. 'Dwarf Red' (Banana) · M. 'FHIA-21' (Banana) · M. 'Giant' (French Plantain) · M. 'Goldfinger' (Banana) · M. 'Gran Nain' (Banana) · M. 'Kru' (Banana) · M. 'Little Prince' (Banana) · M. 'Manzano' (Apple Banana) · M. 'Monkey Fingers' (Banana) · M. 'Pitogo' (Banana) · M. 'Praying Hands' (Praying Hands Banana) · M. 'Rajapuri' (Rajapuri Banana) · M. 'Red Iholena' (Banana) · M. 'Rowe Red' (Banana) · M. 'Thousand Fingers' (Banana) · M. 'Tuu Ghia' (Banana)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 25, 2007:



  1. Delin Wu & W. John Kress "Musaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 24 Page 314. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Musa". in Flora of North America Vol. 22. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  3. "Musa acuminata". in Flora of North America Vol. 22. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  4. Mean = 578.390 meters (1,897.605 feet), Standard Deviation = 852.280 based on 23 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]

Curator for this page: David Constantine. Date last reviewed: 1899-12-30

Last Revised: 2015-01-30