|Species||Musa × paradisiaca|
|Hybrid parentage||M. acuminata × M. balbisiana|
|Cultivar group||AAB Group, Plantain subgroup|
|Origin||Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Africa|
"True" plantains are a group of cultivars of the genus Musa (bananas and plantains) placed in the Plantain subgroup of the AAB genome group. The term "plantain" can refer to all the banana cultivars which are normally eaten after cooking, rather than raw (see cooking banana), or it can refer to members of other subgroups of Musa cultivars, such as the Pacific plantains, although in Africa there is little to no distinction made between the two, as both are commonly cooked. True plantains are divided into four groups based on their bunch type: French, French Horn, False Horn, and Horn plantains.
Each bunch type has a variety of cultivars associated with it:
In the 1990s, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture published two guides to help scientists and farmers identify plantains in West Africa and support their cultivation.
A banana is an elongated, edible fruit – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be 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 starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow upward in clusters near the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible seedless (parthenocarp) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name for this hybrid, Musa sapientum, is no longer used.
Cooking bananas are banana cultivars in the genus Musa whose fruits are generally used in cooking. They may be eaten ripe or unripe and are generally starchy. Many cooking bananas are referred to as plantains or green bananas. In botanical usage, the term "plantain" is used only for true plantains, while other starchy cultivars used for cooking are called "cooking bananas". True plantains are cultivars belonging to the AAB Group, while cooking bananas are any cultivars belonging to AAB, AAA, ABB, or BBB groups. The currently accepted scientific name for all such cultivars in these groups is Musa × paradisiaca. Fe'i bananas from the Pacific Islands are often eaten roasted or boiled, and are thus informally referred to as "mountain plantains," but they do not belong to any of the species from which all modern banana cultivars are descended.
The blood banana, is a variety of the wild banana Musa acuminata native to Sumatra, Indonesia. The blood banana is an ornamental plant, named for the dark red patches on its leaves, though its small-seeded fruits are also edible. It grows 6' to 8' tall in the wild, but is well-adapted to container growing and can be maintained at 3' to 5'. It grows best in full or partial sun and is hardy in zones 9 - 11.
Musa is one of two or three genera in the family Musaceae. The genus includes flowering plants producing edible bananas and plantains. Around 70 species of Musa are known, with a broad variety of uses.
Cavendish bananas are the fruits of one of a number of banana cultivars belonging to the Cavendish subgroup of the AAA banana cultivar group. The same term is also used to describe the plants on which the bananas grow.
Yam is the common name for some plant species in the genus Dioscorea that form edible tubers. Yams are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in many temperate and tropical regions, especially in West Africa, South America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania. The tubers themselves, also called "yams", come in a variety of forms owing to numerous cultivars and related species.
Gros Michel, often translated and known as "Big Mike", is an export cultivar of banana and was, until the 1950s, the main variety grown. The physical properties of the Gros Michel make it an excellent export produce; its thick peel makes it resilient to bruising during transport and the dense bunches that it grows in make it easy to ship.
Musa balbisiana, also known simply as plantain, is a wild-type species of banana. It is one of the ancestors of modern cultivated bananas, along with Musa acuminata.
Grand Nain bananas are banana cultivars of Musa acuminata. It is one of the most commonly cultivated bananas and a member of the commercial Cavendish banana cultivar group. It is also known as the Chiquita banana because it is the main product of Chiquita Brands International.
Rhino Horn bananas, also called Rhino Horn plantains or African Rhino Horn, are hybrid banana cultivars from Africa. It produces strongly curved and elongated edible bananas which can grow to a length of two feet, the longest fruits among banana cultivars.
Musa acuminata is a species of banana native to Southern Asia, its range comprising the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Many of the modern edible dessert bananas are from this species, although some are hybrids with Musa balbisiana. First cultivated by humans around 10 kya, it is one of the early examples of domesticated plants.
Musa maclayi is a species of seeded banana native to Papua New Guinea and possibly the Solomon Islands. It is placed in section Callimusa. It is regarded as one of the progenitors of the Fe'i banana cultivars.
Saba banana, is a triploid hybrid (ABB) banana cultivar originating from the Philippines. It is primarily a cooking banana, though it can also be eaten raw. It is one of the most important banana varieties in Philippine cuisine. It is also sometimes known as the "cardaba banana", though the latter name is more correctly applied to the cardava, a very similar cultivar also classified within the saba subgroup.
Fe'i bananas are cultivated plants in the genus Musa, used mainly for their fruit. Unlike most other cultivated bananas they are diploids of the AA-type. They are very distinct in appearance and origin from the majority of bananas and plantains currently grown. Found mainly in the islands of the Pacific, particularly French Polynesia, Fe'i bananas have skins which are brilliant orange to red in colour with yellow or orange flesh inside. They are usually eaten cooked and have been an important food for Pacific Islanders, moving with them as they migrated across the ocean. Most are high in beta-carotene.
Musa 'Pisang Awak' is an edible banana cultivar belonging to the AABB banana cultivar group. This cultivar is grown worldwide.
Matoke, locally also known as matooke, amatooke in Buganda, ekitookye in southwestern Uganda, ekitooke in western Uganda, kamatore in Lugisu, ebitooke in northwestern Tanzania, igitoki in Rwanda, Burundi and by the cultivar name East African Highland banana, is a starchy triploid banana cultivar originating from the African Great Lakes. The fruit is harvested green, carefully peeled, and then cooked and often mashed or pounded into a meal. In Uganda and Rwanda, the fruit is steam-cooked, and the mashed meal is considered a national dish in both countries.
Musa × paradisiaca is the accepted name for the hybrid between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Most cultivated bananas and plantains are triploid cultivars either of this hybrid or of M. acuminata alone. Linnaeus originally used the name M. paradisiaca only for plantains or cooking bananas, but the modern usage includes hybrid cultivars used both for cooking and as dessert bananas. Linnaeus's name for dessert bananas, Musa sapientum, is thus a synonym of Musa × paradisiaca.
Cardava bananas, also spelled cardaba or kardaba, is a triploid hybrid (ABB) banana cultivar originating from the Philippines. It is primarily a cooking banana, though it can also be eaten raw. It is commonly confused with the more ubiquitous and closely related saba banana because they are used identically in traditional Filipino cuisine. Their common names can be interchanged in everyday usage though they are different cultivars.
Bluggoe, Orinoco, Musa'Orinoco', or burro is a cultivar of banana.