Scientific Classification:

Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Liliopsida
Order Zingiberales
Family Musaceae
Genus Musa
Species M.paradisiaca
Binomial name Musa paradisiaca

Other Common Names:

The other common names for banana are Bananier Nain, Canbur, Curro and Plantain.


The banana and plantain are native to southeast Asia, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years. Bananas are believed to have been introduced to Africa in prehistoric times. Recent evidence suggests bananas were introduced into the New World (Ecuador) by southeast Asians around 200 B.C., and more recently by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. The Portuguese introduced bananas into the Canary Islands and the Spanish to the Island of Hispaniola during the 1500s.Susceptibility to frost keeps the banana from spreading beyond the tropics and the warm subtropics.

Arabian slave traders are credited with giving the banana its popular name. The bananas that were growing in Africa as well as Southeast Asia were not the eight-to-twelve -inch giants that have become familiar in the U.S. supermarkets today. They were small, about as long as a man's finger. Ergo the name banan, Arabic for finger. Or, possibly the name banana comes from West Africa where the Guinean word banema was in use. The Spaniards, who saw a similarity to the plane tree that grows in Spain, gave the plantain its Spanish name, platano.


They belong to the fast-growing herbaceous perennials arising from underground rhizomes.The "trunk" or pseudostem is not a true stem, but only the clustered, cylindrical aggregation of leaf stalk bases. This is the largest of all herbaceous plants having its leaves arranged spirally which can grow 2.7 metres (9 feet) long and 60 cm (2 feet) wide.Flower development is initiated from the true stem underground (corm) 9 - 12 months after planting. The inflorescence (flower stalk) grows through the center of the pseudostem.

Flowers develop in clusters and spiral around the main axis. In most cultivars, the female flowers are followed by a few "hands" of neuter flowers that have aborted ovaries and stamens. The neuter flowers are followed at the terminal ends by male flowers enclosed in bracts. The male flowers have functional stamens but aborted ovaries.The plant produces two stems at the same time: a bigger one for the immediate obtaining of the fruit, and a smaller one, which produces the fruit 6-8 months later.


Though banana originated in the Indo-Malaysian region today it is grown commercially in a number of subtropical areas such as Australia, Morocco, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, the Canary Islands, and south Florida.


Bananas can be grown in any kind of soil but for a good yield they should be planted in a rich, well-drained soil.They prefer an acid soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. The banana is not tolerant of salty soils.


Banana grows in a wide variety of soils provided there is good drainage otherwise poor drainage can be rectified by raising the beds.Apart from this the site of plantation should be protected from wind and cold weather.Propagation are done with the suckers when they have a stem diameter of 2 to 6 inches.The number of suckers developing should be kept to a maximum of 4 or 5 per mat, depending on planting distance and other practices.Pruning is normally practiced only to provide suckers for propagation, as most banana plantings are allowed to grow freely in mats of several plants of varying age and size. For fruit production, some pruning would be desirable to limit the number of plants per mat to 5 or 6. Suckers can be quickly dispatched with a sharpshooter or machete when they are only a few inches tall; however, the sucker must be severed from its mother plant underground.After fruiting, the mother plant which bore should be cut off near ground level, as it can never produce again. The old trunk will quickly decompose if cut into three or four pieces, with each piece then being split lengthwise. Use the remains in a mulch bed or compost heap.

Parts Used


Almost all parts of the banana are used for its medicinal and commercial value.

Flowering Season

The flowers appear spirally along the axis of the inflorescence in groups of 10 to 20, covered by purplish-to-greenish fleshy bracts which shed as flowering development progresses.

Pests and Diseases

Bananas have few troublesome pests or diseases outside the tropics. Root rot from cold wet soil is by far the biggest killer of banana plants in our latitudes.The nematodes also bother bananas a lot.Gophers topple them, and snails and earwigs will crawl up to where they can get continuous water, but these pests do not bother the plant.

Medicinal Applications

It is used in treating children with celiac disease, intolerance to grains that contain gluten such as wheat, rye, oats, and barley.


• Applying the inside of the banana skin to the frostbitten area will bring immediate relief.

• American folklore gives credit to the banana for contributing to longevity, curing corns, headaches, warts and even stage fright.

• The practitioners of Chinese medicine recommend the banana for lowering blood pressure and relieving constipation and hemorrhoids.

• Banana was considered an important food to boost the health of malnourished children.

•  Antifungal and antibiotic principles are found in the peel and pulp of fully ripe bananas.

• The flowers are used in bronchitis and dysentery and on ulcers; cooked flowers are given to diabetics; the astringent plant sap in cases of hysteria, epilepsy, leprosy, fevers, haemorrhages, acute dysentery and diarrhea, and it is applied on hemorrhoids, insect and other stings and bites.

• Young leaves are placed as poultices on burns and other skin afflictions.

• The roots are administered in digestive disorders, dysentery and other ailments.

• Banana seed mucilage is given in cases of catarrh and diarrhea in India.

Commercial Applications


• Ripe bananas are consumed fresh out-offhand, in salads, compotes, ice-cream dishes and pudding.

• Overripe fruit can be pureed in the blender for use in ice cream and baking.

• Dried banana peel, because of its 30 to 40% tannin content, is used to blacken leather.

• The ash from the dried peel of bananas and plantains is rich in potash and used for making soap.

• The ash of certain varieties is used for dyeing.

• Banana leaves are widely used as plates and for lining cooking pits and for wrapping food for cooking or storage.

• The leaves of the 'Fehi' banana are used for thatching, packing, and cigarette wrappers.


The astro reports for the banana say that it is under the dominion of the planet Jupiter

Folklores and Myths

The banana plant because of its continuous reproduction is regarded by Hindus as a symbol of fertility and prosperity, and the leaves and fruits are deposited on doorsteps of houses where marriages are taking place. A banana plant is often installed in the corner of a rice field as a protective charm. Malay women bathe with a decoction of banana leaves for 15 days after childbirth. Early Hawaiians used a young plant as a truce flag in wars. Almost three hundred and fifty years later Americans tasted the first bananas to arrive in this country.