Musaceae Musa x paradisiaca L., the common banana;
M. acuminata Colla, dwarf banana;
M x paradisiaca, plantain or cooking banana
Source: Magness et al. 1971
These are strictly tropical fruits, grown commercially in the U.S. only in Hawaii, and in tropical territories, as Puerto Rico. There are some home garden plantings in south Florida and California. The plant is a perennial herb, which may grow to 20 or more feet. The stalk, with great, broad leaves, produces a single bunch of fruit at the apex, then dies; new stalks rise from the rootstock. Each bunch may contain 100 or more individual seedless fruits, which range up to 10 or more inches in length and one or more in diameter. Peel is smooth and separates readily from edible pulp when ripe. Fruit of the dwarf species averages smaller. A wide variety of kinds are produced in the tropics.
Production in U.S.: About 4,000 tons. Imports total 1,600,000 tons.
Use: Fresh eating, culinary.
Part of fruit consumed: Internal pulp. The whole green plantain fruit can be ground into flour.